Oct. 30, 2017

Cleveland-Marshall College of Law celebrates 120 years

Cleveland-Marshall College of Law celebrated its 120th anniversary on Thursday, Oct. 19 with an Inaugural Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in the Joseph W. Bartunek Moot Courtroom.

The event, which the college organized in fewer than 90 days, used donations to the event to help fund student scholarships.

Dean Lee Fisher noted in his opening remarks, “we could not wait until next year for two reasons — because the need for student scholarships has never been greater, and because we didn’t want to wait 121 years.”

Cleveland-Marshall College of Law was the first law school in Ohio to admit women.

It was also one of the first in the nation to admit minorities, and among other notable social achievements, was a leader in the fight for civil rights.

“The Hall of Fame honors those individuals who have contributed to the past, present, and future success and reputation of our law school,” Fisher said.

“Although the vast majority of our honorees tonight are current and past alumni,” Fisher said, “we also honor current and past community leaders who are not graduates of our law school but who contributed to the success or continue to contribute to our success. And we also honor past faculty, past deans and past staff.”

The selection committee remained anonymous but consisted of faculty, staff and alumni. It decided to honor 120 people for their roles in establishing the foundation of the law school’s success. Of the 120, 30 are still living. 

Fisher pinned honorees according to three groups in the pinning ceremony — Founding Honorees, Commemorated Honorees and Living Legends.

The committee selected Founding Honorees from the law school’s first 50 years — prior to 1946. Notable inductees included Charles V. Carr, State Rep. William H. Clifford and Norman S. Minor.
Commemorated Honorees, selected after 1946, included Mayor Carl B. Stokes and Congressman Louis Stokes.

Living Legends, also selected after 1946, continue to contribute to the esteemed reputation of the law school today. They included Judge Patricia A. Blackmon, civil rights attorney Avery S. Friedman, Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge, Mayor Frank G. Jackson, Judge Benita Y. Pearson and Professor Emerita Jane M. Picker.

Cleveland-Marshall is hoping to secure a permanent home for the Hall of Fame display for its first 120 legends by next year.

The Honorable Donna E. Shalala, daughter of Commemorated Honoree Edna Shalala, class of ‘52, delivered closing remarks about how important Cleveland-Marshall is to the Cleveland community.

“The accessibility of this law school, and its ability to recruit young people, and older people no matter their status is very important not just in our community but to our country as well,” Shalala said.

“What was impressive about the graduates that we saw, is they represented every part of our community, and went on to very fine careers. We need to make sure the new generation has the same opportunities.”


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