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A C Wharton
A.C. Wharton

Memphis Mayor A.C. Wharton will deliver the keynote address at the fifteenth annual Julian Blackshear Jr. Scholarship Gala, which recognizes and celebrates students and alumni who have positively impacted the UT College of Law through their commitment to diversity.

Sponsored by UT Law in partnership with the Black Law Students Association, the Blackshear Gala will commence with a reception at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, February 20, at the Holiday Inn World’s Fair Park, 525 Henley Street. The dinner and formal program will begin at 7:00 p.m.

Wharton was elected the sixty-third mayor of Memphis in 2009, becoming the city’s first new mayor in eighteen years. Wharton’s agenda for the city has focused on new initiatives that increase jobs and capital investment, reduce crime, improve government efficiency and transparency, add more parks and green space to the core city, and improve public education for all children.

Wharton previously served as the first black mayor of Shelby County for seven years. He received his law degree in 1971, graduating with honors from the University of Mississippi Law School. He later became the university’s first black professor of law, teaching there for twenty-five years.

The Blackshear Gala has been held annually since 2001 in honor of one of the College of Law’s first black graduates, Julian Blackshear Jr. (’70). Each year, the college presents the R.B.J. Campbelle Jr. Award, in honor of the college’s first black graduate, to alumni and friends for extraordinary efforts to advance the cause of equality and justice. This year’s recipient is the late Lincoln Blakeney, the first black student to enroll at UT Law.

Admission to the gala is $50 per ticket, or $25 for current students. All proceeds from ticket sales and money raised at the event will directly support the College of Law’s Blackshear Scholarship. The event is sponsored by Merchant & Gould.

Reservations should be made by Monday, February 16. To order tickets, or for more information about table sponsorship opportunities, contact Rynn Dupes at 865-974-6691 or