More than 180 people attended the Wake Forest University Black Law Students Association 29th Annual Scholarship Banquet on Feb. 28 at the Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts.
Guest speakers included N.C. Supreme Court Associate Justice Cheri L. Beasley, Winston-Salem Bar Association President Fredrick B. Adams II, Dellabrook Presbyterian Pastor Rev. Dr. Carlton A.G. Eversley and District Court Judge Denise Hartsfield. The keynote was delivered by Carl E. Stewart, the chief judge on the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.
Scholarships were awarded to three current law students: Ashlee Johnson, Ashley Waring (president of the BLSA) and Ruth Tisdale. Special recognition was given to the BLSA Mock Trial Team and Sonny S. Haynes, a Womble Carlyle attorney who serves as the team’s coach.
Professor Timothy X. Davis received the BLSA Legacy Award, which is given to an individual whose ardent and sustained support of BLSA has impacted the organization and its members.
“BLSA is a wonderful organization committed to serving the law school, its members and the larger community,” said Davis, one of the nation’s foremost sports law scholars. ”I was deeply honored and moved to be recognized for my service to BLSA and its members.”
“Benefiting Lives through Social Action,” the event’s theme, commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, the 60th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education and the legacy of service by Dr. Nelson Mandela. Stewart’s words reflected the theme.
He urged students to be of service to their community, now and in their future careers in law, and to give back by endowing scholarships at Wake Forest Law and striving to improve the welfare of the community by working with charities and for those in need.
“There is always room for excellence,” he said. “While at Wake Forest Law, obtain and maintain excellence. Excellency must be your trademark. There is no market for mediocrity.”
He implored students to “bear down” in their work and careers to honor the support of their families, teachers and the pioneers in law before them such as Thurgood Marshall.
“Be people of great character and integrity,” Stewart advised, adding that all a lawyer has is his or her reputation.
WFU Law Dean Blake D. Morant gave closing remarks, hailing the BLSA banquet as a “signature event of Wake Forest University” that upholds the university’s Pro Humanitate motto adding that “the plight of one is the plight of us all.”