Pitt Law Announces Creation of Derrick A. Bell Scholarship in Law and Social Justice

The University of Pittsburgh School of Law today announced the creation of the Derrick A. Bell Scholarship in Law and Social Justice, in honor of alumnus Professor Derrick A. Bell (’57). This full-tuition scholarship, an initiative of the Derrick A. Bell Fund for Excellence, will support student engagement in areas consistent with Professor Bell’s legacy of advancing to social justice, access to justice, and equality before the law. It is also in keeping with Pitt Law’s longstanding commitment to provide a world-class legal education that is accessible and affordable, as shown by its ranking as a Best Value Law School.

Established in March 2013 by the generosity of Mrs. Janet Dewart Bell, the Derrick A. Bell Fund for Excellence honors Professor Bell, a distinguished teacher, scholar, and civil rights advocate. He was the only African American in his graduating law school class and the first tenured African American professor at Harvard Law School. Additional lead donors to the fund since its inception include Kate McCauley Hathaway and Jerry Hathaway (’79) and the family of Norman Rubash (‘57).

The Derrick A. Bell Scholarship will be awarded to one incoming student—with the option to renew for all three years—who meets certain criteria and qualifications, including: admission to Pitt Law by March 1 along with the offer of a Dean’s or Tuition Scholarship; a record of high academic achievement; a demonstrated commitment to enhancing diversity and social justice; and evidence of overcoming disadvantage or adversity including, but not limited to, being the first in one’s family to pursue higher education or overcoming substantial socioeconomic disadvantage. Applicants must submit a resume and an essay outlining their commitment to social justice and/or future goals of providing access to justice and equality before the law. The deadline for submissions is March 20, and the awardee will be notified in early April.

Additional financial support is needed in order to sustain these initiatives for many years to come. Those interested in helping to continue Bell’s legacy may make a tax-deductible gift in his honor to the Derrick A. Bell Fund for Excellence here.