On Friday, May 14, the University of Kentucky J. David Rosenberg College of Law held a commencement ceremony to honor the Class of 2021 as well as the Class of 2020, which did not receive a commencement ceremony last year because of COVID-19 safety restrictions. Hundreds gathered – distanced and masked – at UK’s Memorial Coliseum for an in-person celebration, following a year marked by in-person and online classes and numerous virtual events.
In 1926, John Y. Brown Sr. graduated from the University of Kentucky College of Law. The son of a tenant farmer and the first in his family to attend college, John Y. Brown Sr. used his law degree to become a trial attorney – the career he later said he’d wanted since he was five years old – and a longtime politician.
This was just the beginning of the Brown family’s relationship with the college. Over the next century, four generations of John Y. Browns would graduate from the same law school.
University of Kentucky J. David Rosenberg Professor Roberta M. Harding, who became the first female, African American professor at the college when she joined in 1991, retired at the end of the spring 2021 semester. Dean Mary J. Davis recently interviewed Harding about her experience at the law school and her legacy.
The following video is a nearly 9-minute excerpt from their recorded Zoom conversation.
“Lawyers are sometimes also mothers,” UK Rosenberg Law Dean Mary J. Davis said. “These stories from women graduates of UK Rosenberg Law who are also mothers remind us of the strength, determination, and resilience that lawyering while mothering requires. Happy Mother's Day to all.”
Denotra Spruill Gunther
Class of 1996
Joshua A. Douglas has been named an Ashland, Inc.-Spears Distinguished Research Professor of Law, effective July 1, 2020. Douglas, a voting rights and constitutional law expert, is the author of Vote for US: How to Take Back our Elections and Change the Future of Voting, a popular press book that provides hope and inspiration for a positive path forward on voting rights.
The Women’s Law Caucus, a student organization at the UK J. David Rosenberg College of Law, held its annual spring reception on March 23, honoring Fayette District Court Judge Melissa Murphy, an alumna of the law school; Blanche Bong Cook, Roberg E. Harding Jr. associate professor of law; and second-year law student Sterling T. Crayton.
Crayton won the Rebecca Westerfield Award for Excellence in Leadership for his advocacy for women in the legal profession.
The Appalachian Law Caucus at the UK J. David Rosenberg College of Law recently collected supplies and monetary donations for communities affected by severe flooding in Eastern Kentucky.
The caucus collected $2,200 in monetary gifts in just 36 hours. Students used the money to purchase cleaning supplies, non-perishable foods, hygiene items, and more. Some supplies were donated by other student organizations at the UK Rosenberg College of Law.
UK J. David Rosenberg College of Law students Shantale Davis and Ashlei McPherson, both first-year law students, recently placed first in the 2021 Law Student Diversity Virtual Case Competition hosted by Cincinnati-based law firm Keating Muething & Klekamp PLL in partnership with the University of Cincinnati College of Law’s Center for Professional Development.
University of Kentucky J. David Rosenberg College of Law second-year law student Kelly Daniel will serve as the first Black editor-in-chief of the college’s Kentucky Law Journal (KLJ) for the 2021-2022 academic year.
Daniel, a native of Boston, recalls one of her most memorable experiences in law school when, during her first year, she and other members of the Black Law Students Association (BLSA) traveled to Louisville, Kentucky, to attend a small gathering hosted by alumnus Steven Reed (’86).
Sarah Howard Jenkins (’82) serves as the Charles C. Baum Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law. In 2017, the University of Kentucky College of Law, now the UK J. David Rosenberg College of Law, inducted Jenkins into its Alumni Hall of Fame.
As an academic-legal professional, Jenkins has devoted her time and energy to challenging her students to develop a commitment to diligence and competence in the study and practice of the law. But Jenkins wasn’t always certain that she would become an attorney.