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KNOXVILLE—Later this month, the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, College of Law will honor students and alumni who are making strides to increase diversity within the program.

The twelfth annual Julian Blackshear Jr. Scholarship Gala will be at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 31, at the Downtown Holiday Inn, 525 Henley Street.

The college has hosted the event annually since 2001 in honor of one of its first African American graduates, Julian Blackshear Jr.

Ticket prices are $50 per ticket; $25 for current students. Tables of ten are available for $500. Reservations are needed by March 26.

The featured speaker will be Bernice Donald, a judge on the US Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit. Donald previously served as Judge of US Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Tennessee, becoming the first African American woman in the history of the United States to serve as a bankruptcy judge. In 1982, she was elected to the General Sessions Criminal Court, where she became the first African American woman to serve as a judge in the history of the State of Tennessee.

Donald has received more than a hundred awards for professional, civic, and community activities, including the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Memphis, the Martin Luther King Community Service Award, and the Benjamin Hooks Award, presented in 2002 by the Memphis Bar Foundation.

All proceeds from ticket sales and money raised at the event directly support the Blackshear Scholarship at the College of Law.

To order tickets, or for more information about sponsorship opportunities, contact Rynn Dupes at 865-974-6691 or by e-mail at

C O N T A C T :

Rynn Dupes (865-974-6691,

Tanya Brown (865-974-6788,