UF Law School announces new scholarship program for HBCU graduates

Jacksonville, FL. — Local college students are being encouraged to be the change they want to see by serving through the country’s justice system.

The University of Florida Fredric G. Levin College of Law has a new, endowed scholarship program.

It will award full-tuition scholarships to graduates of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs.)

Action News Jax Courtney Cole spoke to Yolanda Cash Jackson, the UF College of Law alumna who came up with the idea and made the initial contribution to get the scholarship started.

She told Cole that it feels good to be able to sow back into the next generation of lawyers and judges.

Cole spoke to a student who is equally excited, and already knows exactly what type of law he wants to study.

Na’im Brown told Action News Jax it didn’t take long before he learned he would soon have the chance to go to law school on a full-ride scholarship.

“I was very, very excited to see that,” Brown said. “It’s funny because (UF) President (Zachary) Faison sent it to me first, and then after that, literally all of my friends started forwarding me (the story). They were like, ‘Hey Na’im! Look at this!’ My teachers, my friends, everybody just started forwarding it to me,” Brown told Cole.

I think it’s an excellent opportunity,” Brown said. “It’s definitely shot the University of Florida up on my list of considerable law schools.”

According to a 2019 Profile of the Legal Profession from the American Bar Association, 85% of lawyers are white. Only 5% are Black.

“When we look at history, the law helps determine a lot of things, whether it be equality in education, equality and housing, voting, all of those things were done, some of them, by very young lawyers,” Jackson said.

Jackson, of Becker & Poliakoff, is the creator of the scholarship.

After her initial contribution,  two other alumni also put their money into pot: Paul Perkins and Greg Francis.

“The first dollars that went into the scholarship collectively were that of Black alumni who had not had a voice before—in terms of giving back to the community and giving back to other Black law students,” Jackson said.

Hugh Culverhouse, a person the law school describes as a “long-time UF Law supporter”—also contributed $1 million.

Culverhouse said his donation was inspired by the recent death of civil rights icon and U.S. congressman, John Lewis.

“It is the largest endowed scholarship in the history of the University of Florida law school, created by Black alumni,” Jackson told Action News Jax.

The Presidential Scholar and Business Administration major told Cole he now has his sights on preparing for the LSAT.

“It’s something that I’m really looking forward to. I want to jump on it!”

Dr. DeShanna Brown, the Vice President for Institutional Advancement, Development, Marketing & Communications of EWC, said the scholarship will expand the opportunities for our students navigating the Criminal Justice major, as well as their bachelors of Business Administration major.

Brown told Action News Jax Yolanda Cash Jackson helped secure the dollars for us to start their criminal justice institute here at Edward Waters, too.

For more information on how to make a gift to the HBCU Pathway to Law Endowed Scholarship, please call the Office of Development and Alumni Affairs at 352.273.0640 or email: development@law.ufl.edu

Prospective students seeking information about scholarship opportunities should contact the UF Law Admissions Office at 352.273.0890 or by emailing admissions@law.ufl.edu