Heather Houston ’01 ~ Home, History & The Hill
Attorney Heather Houston ’01 describes her reason for choosing Spring Hill College in four words: It felt like home.
“Anyone who has been on campus can attest to the feeling of family and comfort that you experience when you are on the Hill,” says Houston. “SHC’s focus on the mind, body and spirit—the core of a Jesuit tradition—makes all the difference. A Spring Hill College education is an evolution of the whole person. It emphasizes the development of moral character and forms men and women in service to others.”
Houston, a history major and pre-law minor from Bayou La Batre, Ala., particularly enjoyed her interaction with Spring Hill’s diverse faculty, citing Rev. David Borbridge, S.J., and Dr. Patricia Harrison as her favorite professors.
“Fr. Borbridge's depth of knowledge is without equal. His classes, while challenging, were an opportunity for students to not only learn history, but to truly understand it,” says Houston. “And Dr. Harrison's enthusiasm is contagious. While I may have started a semester without a particular interest in the course’s topic, I always fell prey to her engaging demeanor and passion for the subject matter.”
She fondly recalls presenting her senior seminar to the SHC History Department just before graduation. In preparation, she spent her final semester at Spring Hill researching and writing about pacifism and conscientious objection in Europe during World War I.
“Unfortunately, during this process, I never thought about what a tongue twister I had created for myself until I was forced to say aloud the terms ‘pacifism’ and ‘conscientious objection’ what felt like a million times during my presentation,” says Houston. “To make it all the more interesting, Fr. Borbridge asked me to discuss the difference between pacifism and pacificism. In retrospect, I should have just broken out into ‘How much wood would a wood chuck chuck...’”
All humor aside, Houston stresses that connecting with professors and classmates is crucial for students to get the most out of their Spring Hill College experience. She also recommends getting involved in SHC’s many organizations and activities. Houston met her husband, Rob Wilson ’00 on campus, and still keeps in touch with Spring Hill College friends almost every day.
“I like to remind my former roommate, Samantha Fenwick Kurtz, of the beautiful weather we typically have here on the Gulf Coast while she is freezing in her hometown of St. Louis,” says Houston.
After graduating from Spring Hill College in 2001, Houston went on to earn her J.D. degree from the University of Mississippi School of Law. She later joined Carr Allison, a civil litigation firm for businesses and the insurance industry.
“The most challenging aspect of my job is that no matter how much I plan ahead and no matter how prepared I may be, my day never goes as expected,” says Houston. “I may arrive at my office thinking I'm going to spend my day writing a brief or preparing for a deposition and by lunch time I find myself inspecting the roof of a steel mill.”
Houston adds that her Spring Hill College experience helped not only prepare her for the rigors of law school and her practice as an attorney, but assisted her in becoming a more well-rounded member of the local community.
“It was during my years at Spring Hill that I really began to develop a commitment to servant leadership,” says Houston. “I hope that no matter how busy I may be building my career, I never forget to take the time to help others in need.”
Houston currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Ronald McDonald House of Mobile, as a long-time member of the Junior League of Mobile, and a frequent volunteer at Prodisee Pantry and the Baldwin Animal Rescue Coalition.
“There are so many reasons that I'm proud to be a Spring Hill College alumna,” says Houston. “When I meet new people and they learn I’m a SHC graduate, they always comment on the academic excellence for which Spring Hill College is known, the beautiful campus that is unsurpassed, or the strength of the Jesuit tradition.”
Houston is on the National Alumni Association Board at Spring Hill College and serves as president for the Mobile Alumni Chapter.