Law school honors ‘Rattlers for Justice’

2018 Rattlers for Juatice Scholarship recipients: Ashley Stewart, Nearlashawndra Nash-Scott and Ryan Willis. 
Photo submitted by Stephanie Strong

ORLANDO, FL – Florida A&M University’s law school hosted its Legacy Awards and Scholarship Gala Friday night. The event took place at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Hotel in Orlando and coincided with the Florida Classic weekend.

The prestigious event was full of smiles, music and FAMUly (family) love. It was designed to highlight alumni who paved the way for Rattlers today, and individuals who were continuing the FAMU legacy of standing for justice.

Leroy Pernell, interim dean of the College of Law, explained  the “Rattlers for Justice” theme. “The Rattlers for Justice slogan was adopted as part of a branding campaign that was launched earlier this year. The phrase ended up sticking and is now part of the school’s philosophy,” he said.

FAMU law school honored 10 individuals, all of whom graduated from FAMU.

They included attorney John D. Due, Jr. (Legacy Award), attorney Bishop C. Holifield (Vanguard Award), former FAMU President Fredrick S. Humphries,(Visionary Award), and Bernard and Shirley Kinsey (Community Advocate Award).

President Larry Robinson and FAMU’s Foundation director, John Crossman, were also in attendance and served as presenters. Robinson presented Bishop Holifield with his award, and Crossman presented. the Kinseys with their award.

“In 1985, when (Humphries) became president of Florida A&M I was the cluster chairman,” Kinsey said.  “Dr. Humphries and I made a pact. He said, ‘Bernard, if you go raise the money, I’ll go get the kids.’ And over the next five years we raised about  $11-million in cluster,” Kinsey said.

Kinsey added that the same efforts that were put in place years ago when he and Humphries raised money is needed today from alumni to help Robison raise money for future and current Rattlers.

During the elegant event, FAM law also shed light alumni who are now judges, and soon to be judges. Kelly Ingram (2008 grad), Amy Carter (2008 grad) and Gabrielle Sanders (2009 grad) were all individually honored with Distinguished Alumni awards.

Ingram was the first FAMU law alum to be elected judge in Brevard County. Carter and Sanders will be sworn in in January. Carter is the judge-elect of Orange County, while Sanders is the judge-elect of Osceola County.

As the gala was coming to an end, three FAMU law students were awarded with a full-tuition scholarship of $15,000 that will go toward their last year of law school.

The recipients were, Nearlashawndra Nash-Scott, Ashley Stewart and Ryan Willis.

“To me, a Rattler for Justice is an individual who personifies integrity, an individual who understands the importance of resiliency, an individual who has conquered life’s obstacles, and is using those lessons to help make the journey for those behind her easier. I am a Rattler for Justice,” Scott said.

Following the Rattlers for Justice awards, the night closed with remarks from FAMU Trustee Harold Mills, and the singing of the Alma Mater.