UC Law announces Dean Verna Williams scholarship

Fund aims to increase the number of lawyers from underrepresented communities in the legal field. 

The College of Law, in collaboration with the UC Foundation, has set-up a student scholarship fund to honor Dean Verna Williams’ legacy at UC Law.

The Dean Verna Williams Student Scholarship Endowment Fund will provide scholarships for students in the College of Law with a preference for recipient(s) who are underrepresented in the College. Dean Williams was committed to increasing the diversity of the student body and making a legal education possible for those from underrepresented communities. This fund will help ensure that her mission can continue to be realized.

Please join us in honoring Dean Williams’ legacy at UC Law through this endowment. To learn more about how you can help honor her in this fashion, review the Dean Verna Williams Student Scholarship Endowment Fund page.

Verna Williams joined the College of Law as an assistant professor in 2001 after practicing many years in the areas of civil and women’s rights.  She was named professor in 2006 and served as Judge Joseph P. Kinney Professor of Law from 2013-2017. She taught in the areas of family law, gender discrimination, and constitutional law. In addition, she co-directed the College’s Judge Nathaniel Jones Center for Race, Gender, and Social Justice with Professors Kristin Kalsem and Emily Houh.  

She served as interim dean of the college from 2017 – 2019 and was appointed dean and Nippert Professor of Law in May of 2019. 

Verna L. Williams, JD
LAW-College of Law

Former dean Verna Williams

Throughout her decanal tenure, Dean Williams worked to advance student success and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives. Under her leadership, the academic profile of entering students, bar passage rate of graduating students, and post-graduation employment rate of students increased.  She shepherded the launch of an online master of legal studies degree program and secured a newly renovated building for the College of Law, which opened in August of this year. In 2021, under Williams’ leadership, the college launched the Bias Related Incident Tool to track and address student complaints; it also modified teaching evaluations to assess instructor success implementing inclusive practices, and trained faculty and staff on equity in the context of race, sexual expression, and disability.

Additionally, Williams’ work focused on supporting the legal rights of the disadvantaged within the Cincinnati community. In partnership with the Hamilton County Municipal Court Clerk’s office, she established the Hamilton County Help Center, bringing UC attorneys, law students, as well as College of Allied Health Sciences Master of Social Work student interns together to assist unrepresented litigants. Under her leadership, the College of Law also created the Legal Access Clinic, which launched this fall.

We thank Dean Williams for her many years of service at the College of Law and wish her the best in this next chapter.

Writer: Mindy Roy, UC Foundation; Photos: istockphoto, UC Photography

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