Dr. Mary Frances Berry, '70, has been named the Law School's 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient. Michigan honored Dr. Berry at an awards ceremony on September 16.
Dr. Berry is widely recognized as one of the nation's most prominent civil rights, gender equality, and social justice activists. Her career spans four decades and includes leadership positions in higher education and government service. She began her career at the University of Maryland’s Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences where she served as interim provost. She became the first black woman to head a major research university as chancellor of the University of Colorado. She served as the Chairperson of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission during four Presidential administrations, and also as the principal education official in the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare. In 2013 she was a recipient of the Nelson Mandela Award from the South African Government for her role in organizing the Free South Africa Movement, which helped to end apartheid. Today, Dr. Berry is the Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought and Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania, where she teaches American legal history. She is the author of 12 books. Dr. Berry earned a BA from Howard University and PhD and JD degrees from the University of Michigan. She also was awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree from the University in May 1997.
Professor Kathleen Cleaver
Prof. Kathleen Cleaver kindly agreed to visit the University of Michigan Law School to teach a student-initiated and student-sponsored seminar on Race, Law, and Citizenship from October 5 to 12. The seminar explores issues of rights through the lens of American legal history in the arena of citizenship, race, and democracy, and is open to all students, faculty, staff, and members of the general public. The seminar begins in the 19th century with Crandall v. Connecticut, a case where a progressive state Supreme Court judgment was powerless against the anger of a local mob, and ends in the Civil Rights Movement, and will include a screening of a specially selected film on race and colonialism. Professor Cleaver, a world-renowned legal scholar and an early founder and leader of the Black Panther Movement has not only exceptional knowledge, but also extraordinary firsthand experience in the field of civil rights. Taught in the broader context of the upcoming 2016 presidential elections, this seminar affords students timely consideration of the recurrent themes in American legal and political history. Vann Newkirk, a writer at the Atlantic, and a co-founder of Seven Scribes, participated in the first class session on October 5, 2016.