Desegregation Pioneers to Be Honored During UF Constitution Day Program

Published: September 15th, 2008

Category: Memos

Joseph Glover, Provost

Faculty, staff and students are invited to participate in the university’s Constitution Day program hosted by the Levin College of Law on Wednesday, Sept. 17. Constitution Day activities will take place in the law school’s Chesterfield Smith Ceremonial Classroom 180 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Please distribute this invitation to your college/unit. For a complete schedule of Constitution Day events and more information, visit

UF’s 2008 Constitution Day program commemorates the 50th anniversary of desegregation at UF, and will include UF’s first African-American law student, George H. Starke Jr., and relatives of the late Virgil D. Hawkins, whose personal sacrifice helped end segregation at the University of Florida. Other special guests are prominent early African- American alumni of the College of Law, including Gainesville’s first African-American attorney and the first African-American federal judge from the Eighth Judicial Circuit appointed to the First District Court of Appeals, the Hon. Stephan Mickle.

The first hour of the program will focus on Virgil Hawkins and other leaders in the integration of legal education. A break at the end of the first hour will be timed to facilitate students leaving for 11:00 classes or arriving after 10:00 classes. The second hour will feature Judge Mickle and law professors Kenneth Nunn and Juan Perea in a panel discussion on federal constitutional law issues involved in the law school’s desegregation. This will be followed by a tribute to George H. Starke, Jr. – who will be in attendance – by Professor Michelle Jacobs. Other recognitions and acknowledgments and the unveiling of a commemorative plaque in honor of Virgil Hawkins, are also on the agenda for the day.

Parking restrictions at the college will be lifted for the day. For a complete schedule of Constitution Day events and more information, visit

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