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KNOXVILLE — The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, College of Law raised nearly $7,000 for the Julian Blackshear, Jr., Scholarship Fund at the 11th annual Blackshear Gala on Saturday, March 5.

The scholarship, named for the college’s third African-American graduate, helps recruit and retain outstanding African-American students.

Fred Humphries, vice president of U.S. government affairs for the Microsoft Corp. in Washington, D.C., provided the keynote address for the event.

“We are grateful that so many members of the community came out to support the diversity of our student population,” said Doug Blaze, dean of the College of Law. “We were thrilled that so many people share our commitment to an inclusive legal atmosphere and that our sponsors and attendees gave so much to benefit the Blackshear scholarship.”

The College of Law also honored its first African-American graduate, R.B.J. Campbelle Jr. with a posthumous award for his exemplary service to equity and justice. Campbelle’s daughter, Teree Campbelle-McCormick, accepted the award on behalf of his family. The award, which will be known as the R.B.J. Campbelle Award, will be presented annually to an alumnus of the college who personifies the quest for equality and justice.

Campbelle entered the law program a year before the landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education and graduated in 1956.

This year, the UT Knoxville is celebrating 50 years of African-American Achievement. Since no other law school existed in the state at the time, the UT Knoxville College of Law admitted students of color before the main campus because “separate but equal” could not be applied. Non-white students make up 26 percent of the College of Law’s most recent entering class.

Blackshear Gala sponsors included Merchant & Gould LLC, Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC; Bass, Berry & Sims PLC; Boston, Holt, Sockwell and Durham PLLC; the family of attorney R.B.J. Campbelle Jr.; Hodges, Doughty and Carson PLLC; Husch Blackwell LLP; Kramer Rayson LLP; Lewis, King, Krieg & Waldrop PC; Miller & Martin PLLC; John T. Milburn Rogers; and the UT College of Law Student Bar Association.