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Thomas C. Fitzhugh III

Adjunct Professor
Department of Maritime Administration

“Not what we are, what we seek is everything.”

– Friedrich Holderin, 16th century German poet.

Get To Know Thomas C. Fitzhugh III

What in your life drew you to your current field of study?

My uncle’s best friend was a maritime lawyer in Galveston, and he thought we were much alike. After I started taking Admiralty Law in law school, I met his friend, and when I graduated, I started with his firm’s Houston office. Once there I was mentored by two great attorneys who taught me so much about the practice of law. My crude Spanish ability got me into cases for a shipyard in the Rio Grande Valley, and I developed my specialty in longshore work there. Teaching was always a goal, but I had imagined teaching in a law school. The MARA department head, whom I met while running the Maritime Security Council of the United States, approached me about teaching at TAMUG, and I started 23 years ago. 

What are you passionate about in your personal life?

Theater, travel, classical music, the Episcopal church, Texas A&M University’s Memorial Student Center, and the Honors Program joint project for National Merit Scholars, the Champe Fitzhugh International Honors Leadership Seminar. Plus Aggie Athletics and the Astross.


J.D. The University of Texas, 1976
B.S. Geophysics, Texas A & M University, 1971

Admitted to practice in Texas and the District of Columbia; five US Courts of Appeals, numerous federal district courts. Certified as a Proctor in Admiralty by the Maritime Law Association of the United States.

Courses Taught

MARA 212: Business Law
MARA 421: Admiralty Law
MARA 470: Environmental Law
MARA 435: Labor & Employment Law
MARA 485: Independent study in Maritime Topics 
MARA 486: International Maritime Business (London)

Awards & Recognition

2017: Texas Top Lawyer, American Lawyer & Texas Lawyer

2015: Houston’s Best Admiralty Lawyer, Houstonia Magazine

May 2010: Vice President’s Meritorous Award for Outstanding Classroom Teaching, Texas A&M University
“His vast professional experience enables him to provided current real world situations to illustrate the subject matter. One student said, “There is never a dull moment in his class…he constantly adapts his assignments to what is current.”

November 1998: U.S. Customs Ensign from Customs Commissioner Raymond Kelly
“In recognition and appreciation of your superior efforts in support of U.S. Customs Industry Partnership Programs”

November 1996: Award for Excellence, U.S. Department of Transportation
“In recognition of and appreciation for extraordinary contributions to the field of maritime security and for distinguished service to the maritime industry.”

1990 & 1995: Charles W. Plum Distinguished Service Award
"In recognition of outstanding and exemplary service to the Memorial Student Center and Texas A&M University"

October 1995: Hammer Award, Vice President’s Commission on Government Operations
“For innovative and effective work between the private sector and U.S. government to improve programs designed to prevent and interdict drug smuggling into the United States through the Carrier Initiative Program”

September 1992: Gold Band Award, U.S. Customs Service
"For your generous efforts to promote the objectives of the Trade Policy Role of the U.S. Customs Service" 

Professional Appointments

2017: Merit Selection Panel, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas

2011 - Present: Pre-Law Advisor, Texas A&M University

1998 - Present: Vice President & General Counsel, Maritime Security Council

1998 - Present: Adjunct Lecturer in Maritime Law, Texas A&M University

1988-1998: Executive Director, Maritime Security Council

Special Master, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas

1996 - 1998: Chairman, U.S. Government Inter-Agency Committee on Maritime Security

Proctor in Admiralty, Maritime Law Association of the United States;

Board of Advisors, University of San Francisco Maritime Journal

1984 - Present: Defense Research Institute - Committee on Admiralty Law, Maritime Law Association of the United States

1982 - Present: Committee on Maritime Personnel (formerly Stevedoring and Terminal Operations)

Subcommittee on Longshore & Harbor Workers' Compensation Act

1990 - Present: Committee on Carrier Security

American Bar Association, Section of Litigation

Committee on Admiralty & Maritime Law

Committee on Personal Injury, Wrongful Death and Workers' Compensation;

1984 - Present: Charter Member, College of the State Bar of Texas, Charter Member, 1984 to present, Association of Continuing Legal Education

Mandatory CLE Committee

National Interest Group

Life Fellow, Texas Bar Foundation

Fellow, Houston Bar Foundation

1992 - 2001: Faculty, Champe Fitzhugh International Honors Leadership Seminar, Rome/Venice, Italy

1995 - Present: Pro Bono College of the State Bar of Texas

Planning Committee, University of Texas Admiralty & Maritime Seminar

1996 - Present: Judge, John R. Brown Admiralty Moot Court Competition

Contact Info

Thomas C. Fitzhugh III
Adjunct Professor
Department of Maritime Administration