In the fall of 2021, the School of Law established the Justice Robert Benham Scholars Program Fund, which provides permanent funding for the school’s student initiative honoring the jurist.
This fund – named for retired Georgia Supreme Court Justice Robert Benham who became the law school’s second African American graduate in 1970 – will support those who have overcome significant adversity and who have a demonstrated connection with or intent to return to and serve rural or legally underserved communities.
The newly established Justice Robert Benham Scholars Program Fund was created with a $500,000 pledge by The Hart Family Foundation with assistance from E. David Hart Jr., a 1980 alumnus of the School of Law.
The Benham Scholars Program, which was piloted in 2018 with the help of UGA President Jere W. Morehead’s (J.D.’80) New Approaches in Diversity and Inclusion initiative and matching support from the School of Law, addresses four key areas: recruitment, preparation for law school, academic support and career planning.
With this additional funding, the scope of the Benham Scholars Program will now include scholarships, participant support costs, bar exam preparation, professional development attire, participation in the school’s “early start” program, materials and supplies as well as costs associated with special guest speakers or events.
Benham was the first and longest serving African American member of the Georgia Supreme Court, and he served as chief justice from 1995 to 2001. He was a member of the Georgia Court of Appeals for five years before being appointed to the state’s highest court in 1989.