Skip to content Skip to navigation

Noted Legal Scholar and Merced Native Charles Ogletree Comes to Campus Dec. 5

November 30, 2005

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.