Spring 2014

Alumni reunion attendees on the steps of the Reading Room.


African American Alumni Reconnect, Reflect

By Amy Spooner

The excitement was palpable as alumni returned to Ann Arbor for the inaugural Michigan Law African American Alumni Reunion, March 21–23, 2014. 

The reunion coincided with Preview Weekend for admitted students and the 36th Annual Alden J. “Butch” Carpenter Scholarship Banquet, giving alumni and students opportunities to make connections, swap stories, and discuss the value of the Michigan Law experience. Exuberant former classmates reunited, some of whom hadn’t returned to campus since graduation. 

“Michigan Law is a lifelong community, and that was front and center this weekend,” said Dean Mark West. “The common experience of time spent in the Quad creates strong connections across generations of students.” 

With the theme “coming back, moving forward,” the reunion also explored ways to improve and support the recruitment and matriculation of African American students. Panel discussions focused on minority admissions at the Law School, post-civil rights era advocacy, and alternative careers. 

“Recruitment of top minority students by top-ranked law schools like Michigan is more competitive than ever,” said the Hon. Roger Gregory, ’78, in a luncheon address. 

“Our time at the Law School influenced our lives and career. Michigan cannot similarly influence other bright, young African Americans without our help.” 

Saturday night’s Butch Carpenter Banquet brought past, present, and future Michigan Law students together in an atmosphere described as “warm and zealous” by event co-chair Adrean Taylor, a 2L. 

Detroit Emergency Manager Kevin Orr, ’83, offered an engaging insider’s view of Detroit’s bankruptcy as the keynote. The event drew more than 300 people—a record turnout—and saw the scholarship fund surpass the $1 million mark. 

Said Taylor, “The significant involvement of our dedicated alumni is undoubtedly the reason the Butch Carpenter Scholarship has been maintained for 36 years and continues to exceed expectations.”