According to Conley Meredith, each decision made in life is a stepping stone. Growing up in North Little Rock, and becoming one of the first members of his family to attend college, Meredith’s choices led him to a life of engagement, service and giving back.
Clinging to the “stepping stone” theory, Meredith reflects on his time at the University of Arkansas as years of growth and possibility. “My education from the U of A absolutely helped me get to where I am today. I wish more people would realize how important it is to have a college education…If you don’t plan to succeed, plan to fail,” he said.
Admitting that he never considered going to college anywhere else, Meredith enrolled at the U of A during the time of the Vietnam War. Due to the stipulations enforced, he joined ROTC and went on to serve on active duty as a captain in the Air Force.
Devoted to maintaining a high academic standard in college, he found a proper balance between school and social life, saying, “Steve Nipper and I were fraternity brothers in Alpha Kappa Lambda, and I was involved in Phi Mu Alpha and Kappa Kappa Psi.”
Graduating in 1967, Meredith immediately enrolled in law school at the U of A and held in mind the prospect of becoming a JAG officer one day. “I always liked history and knowing why something happened. I thought it best to use my talents towards law,” he said. In 1970, Meredith faced several milestones, including graduating in June, taking the bar exam in August and being on active duty with the Air Force in October. For five months, his life was a whirlwind and it didn’t slow down as he found himself traveling the world with the military.
Traveling to Germany, Paris, Switzerland, Italy, California and Denver, his passion for seeing the world never ceased. However, in 1975, he decided to go back to his law roots, working in a Florida practice for four years. Realizing that his life was not meant to be spent in a law firm, he returned to the Air Force and now works as senior counsel in the Services Law Division of the United States Government. “I work with people and get to help with programs that enhance the welfare of families in the Air Force,” he states.
Now settled in San Antonio, Texas, Meredith and his wife, Charlotte, a U of A alumna, look for ways to give back to the alma mater that has enabled them both to live a life of adventure and success. In 2007, the Merediths established the Charlotte and Conley Meredith Endowed Scholarship for students in the College of Education and Health Professions, and School of Law. Opting to split the $300,000 scholarship between the two schools, Meredith states, “We were not blessed with children so, this is our way of helping other kids and we look at it as a way of giving beyond yourself.”
The efforts made through scholarship are not the only way Meredith gives back to the University of Arkansas. As life members of the Arkansas Alumni Association, his mentality towards joining was, “Why not?” Although living in San Antonio puts him several hours away from “The Hill,” the ability to stay connected via the magazine and newsletters makes the distance not seem so far away.
However, when he does make it back to campus, Meredith admits that seeing his name on Senior Walk is probably his favorite tradition. With humor in his voice, he said, “We’re the only university to do that, and probably the only other time I will see my name, it will be on a tombstone, so I might as well enjoy it now.”