Yale Law School

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Black Law Students Association Hosts Alumni Dinner

The Black Law Students Association (BLSA) recently celebrated its sixth Jane M. Bolin Service Award Dinner. This year’s award winner and keynote speaker was William Kennard ’81, the first African-American Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission and first African-American U.S. Ambassador to the European Union.

Kennard joins past BLSA honorees Myron H. Thompson ’72; Marian Wright Edelman ’63; Rhonda McLean ’83; James Thomas ’64; and Cliff Alexander ’58. The Jane M. Bolin Award is named for the first African-American woman to graduate from Yale Law School, and the first to serve as a judge in the U.S.

More than 120 BLSA alums and students attended the dinner at the Omni hotel, including BLSA President Cara McClellan ’15, BLSA alumni relations chair Akunna Cook ’16, Dean Post ’77, and Professor Stephen Carter ’79, who introduced Ambassador Kennard.

In addition to holding the alumni dinner, BLSA for the first time also organized an alumni brunch and three panels focused on current opportunities and challenges facing BLSA students. The panels, which were led by alums including Professor James Forman ’92, Professor Catherine Powell ’92, and Dr. Akosua Barthwell-Evans ’90, focused on the role of courts in achieving social change, the role of the legal academy in the pursuit of justice, and leveraging a law degree for success in business and beyond.