Noted Legal Scholar and Merced Native Charles Ogletree Comes to Campus Dec. 5
Public Invited to Afternoon Lecture Focusing on Future of Diversity
MERCED, CA - Following up on the inspiring keynote address he presented during UC Merced's recent opening celebration, Harvard law professor and Merced native Charles J. Ogletree, Jr. is returning to the campus on Monday, Dec. 5 for a full day of interactive and educational events with students, faculty, staff and the public.
Through this campus visit, Ogletree is fulfilling his commitment to leave a legacy at UC Merced as the first recipient of the annual Alice and Clifford Spendlove Prize in Social Justice, Diplomacy and Tolerance. The visit commemorates Ogletree's accomplishments, and his challenge to the community to address racial diversity and social tolerance.
To kick off the morning's activities, Ogletree will meet with local high school students from around Merced County. The sessions are scheduled to include a presentation by Ogletree and discussion based on selected chapters of his recently published historical memoir, All Deliberate Speed: Reflections of the First Half-Century of Brown V. Board of Education. Stemming from the focus of the book, Ogletree said he expects the exchange may focus on his experiences growing up in Merced and in law school, as well as the subject of race relations.
"I really am looking forward to this interaction and the intergenerational discussion with great anticipation," Ogletree said. "Over the years, I've benefited from having educators as my mentors and role models. Now, it is my goal to offer students those same benefits by passing along the lessons I have learned over the past decades."
Following lunch with members of the campus community, Ogletree will present complimentary copies of All Deliberate Speed to UC Merced students from Merced County. A campus tour also is planned.
"Welcoming Professor Ogletree back to campus is a special honor for UC Merced," said Chancellor Carol Tomlinson-Keasey. "His interaction with students and staff will give our campus community a chance to contemplate the role we each can play in ensuring opportunity, equality and social justice for all."
To round out the afternoon, Ogletree will present a lecture on civil rights, racial diversity and higher education entitled "All Deliberate Speed: The Future of Diversity in America." Open to the public, the free event will take place from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. in Room 280 of the Kolligian Library's Blue Wing. A question-and-answer session will be included.
Members of the public will have another opportunity to hear Ogletree speak at 6 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 4, when the Merced chapter of the NAACP will host a lecture at the Boys and Girls Club in Merced. This free lecture will address the gains and losses made in the civil rights movement over the past 50 years, and will highlight the contributions of Rosa Parks.
The Jesse Climenko Professor of Law at Harvard University, Ogletree also is the founding and executive director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice. A prominent legal theorist, he has made an international reputation by taking a hard look at complex issues of law and working to secure the rights guaranteed by the Constitution for everyone equally under the law. In addition, he serves as co-chair of the Reparations Coordinating Committee, a group of lawyers and other experts researching a lawsuit based upon a claim of reparations for descendants of African slaves.
Back in his hometown, Ogletree was named as the first recipient of the Alice and Clifford Spendlove Prize in Social Justice, Diplomacy and Tolerance during the campus opening celebration on Set. 5. UC Merced will present the annual award to recognize "a scholar, author, artist or citizen who exemplifies in their work the delivery of social justice, diplomacy and tolerance in the diverse local and global society."
Charles Ogletree is a leader, a giver and an outstanding choice for the first Spendlove Prize," said Sherrie Spendlove-Gallo, whose gift of $500,000 will continue to fund the annual award. "He will serve as a strong role model and inspiration for students, faculty and the communities surrounding UC Merced."
Spendlove-Gallo made a separate donation to purchase the copies of Ogletree's book which will be presented to UC Merced students who come from the local area.
In naming the prize, Spendlove-Gallo chose to honor her parents, Alice and Clifford Spendlove - a Merced couple who have dedicated their lives to education and public service.
"We have drawn strength from our sense of responsibility that the injustices of society must be addressed and that our youth must develop an ethic of tolerance," the Spendloves wrote in capturing the intent of the prize. "Social justice, diplomacy and tolerance are relevant concepts for citizens whatever their identity. We hope that the prize will honor those who promote and act on these beliefs."
Ogletree, who received guidance from the Spendloves as he was growing up and into his adult years, said, "It truly is an honor to come back to Merced and to exemplify the greatness of the Spendloves over the years. I'm very excited about this opportunity and hope to honor the Spendloves with a focus on creating a better society for everyone - a goal we share.
"I also see this as a way of giving back after receiving so much from the Merced community throughout my elementary, junior high and high school years," said Ogletree, who mentored many young people and started scholarships to support their educational pursuits, including a recently created fund that will benefit local students attending UC Merced.