Sherman J. Bellwood, an Idaho native, graduated from the University of Idaho with honors in 1939 and earned the doctorate of Law degree from the University of Michigan in 1941. After serving five years in the Army Coast Artillery Corps, he returned to Idaho to begin his legal career. For fifteen years Sherman Bellwood engaged in the general practice of law. He also served as President of the Idaho State Bar and was for a number of years the Idaho delegate to the American Bar Association.
In the early 1960s, Bellwood was elected to serve as an Idaho District Court Judge, where he presided until his retirement in 1981. Active in community and civic projects, Judge Bellwood was instrumental in obtaining from the United States the land which today is the home of the Idaho Youth Ranch.
Throughout his distinguished career, Judge Sherman J. Bellwood was committed to the legal profession and to legal education. In one of his last and most generous contributions to legal education, Judge Bellwood endowed the Sherman J. Bellwood Lectures at the College of Law. According to the terms of his will, Judge Bellwood's purpose in establishing this endowment was "to enable the College of Law to invite and present persons learned in the law to lecture on legal subjects from time to time." This endowment is the largest endowed lectureship at the University of Idaho.