New Fund Honors Law School’s First Black Graduate
A newly announced endowment at the University of Georgia will support scholarships and fellowships for incoming law students who have graduated from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
The Chester C. Davenport Memorial Endowment Fund was established in memory of the law school’s first Black graduate, who passed away in August.
“We are proud to establish the Chester C. Davenport Memorial Endowment Fund as a tribute to such a notable alumnus,” UGA President Jere W. Morehead says in a press release. “The new scholarships and fellowships it creates will help us recruit outstanding students from diverse backgrounds who have the potential to bring great distinction to our institution through their lives and careers, just as Mr. Davenport did.”
A MONUMENTAL FIGURE
Davenport, an Athens native and Morehouse College graduate, was the first Black student at UGA Law and remained the school’s only black student throughout his law school education. He earned his law degree in 1966, graduating in the top 5% of his class.
Post law school, Davenport went on to become an attorney in the tax division of the US Department of Justice and served as a legislative assistant for California Senator Alan Cranston. He has also served as an assistant secretary at the US Department of Transportation.
Davenport co-founded his own law practice in Washington DC and, ultimately, started Georgetown Partners, a private equity firm.
A monumental figure at UGA Law, Davenport held positions on the law school’s Board of Visitors and the UGA Arch Foundation. In 2006, he donated a gift to help support student scholarships at UGA Law. In 2016, he received the law school alumni association’s highest honor, the Distinguished Service Scroll Award.
“Mr. Davenport will always be a seminal figure in our school’s history,” UGA Law Dean Peter B. “Bo” Rutledgesaid adds in the release. “Chester was a trailblazer who achieved much in his lifetime, including the diversification of our law school and the legal profession. It is with tremendous pride that we will award scholarships and fellowships to those who will follow in his footsteps and carry on his legacy of service to state and society.”