Spring 2017

Reunion attendees in Honigman Auditorium


African American Alumni Reunion: Reconnecting with Classmates and Michigan Law

The second African American Alumni Reunion, held March 24–26, increased the size of 2014’s inaugural run, while retaining the same spirit of excitement to be home in the Law Quad and eagerness to stay connected.

The Honorable Harry Edwards, ’65, delivered Saturday’s luncheon keynote address, “Reflections on Racial Stigmas and Stereotyping.” Judge Edwards, who is senior circuit judge and chief judge emeritus on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, reflected on the ongoing quest for racial justice in today’s America. “We can point to significant numbers of African Americans in prominent legal roles. Yet, with all the progress, racial injustices still stain the landscape of our country.”

Connections bridged generations at Saturday’s Alden J. “Butch” Carpenter Gala—sponsored annually by the Black Law Students Association to award scholarships through a fund that classmates established in the wake of Carpenter’s sudden death as a student nearly 40 years ago. 

“It was amazing to meet the esteemed alumni who paved the way for us,” says event chair Omotunde Okesanya, a 2L.

Broderick Johnson, ’83, gave the gala’s keynote address, and discussed the importance of using one’s position and stature to help young people think broadly about their future. 

“A central motivation of my life’s work has been to raise expectations and provide African American children with opportunities and resources to succeed so they too can make the improbable probable,” said Johnson, who was assistant to the president and cabinet secretary under President Obama and also chaired the president’s My Brother’s Keeper Task Force.

“Without question, the 2017 African American Alumni Reunion demonstrated its worth as a resource and tool,” says reunion executive co-chair Elizabeth Campbell, ’78. 

“I am very proud that we have started something that is both valued and sustainable by the Law School.” —JP

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