Emory Law receives landmark donation from Southern Company Foundation to establish Center for Civil Rights and Social Justice

Sept. 16, 2021

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Emory Law

Emory University has received a transformative grant from Southern Company Foundation to establish the Emory University School of Law Center for Civil Rights and Social Justice and support other student success and access initiatives through Emory College and Winship Cancer Center.  The grant, totaling $7 million, with $5 million dedicated to the new Center, will be one of the most substantial gifts dedicated to an academic center for civil rights and social justice in Georgia, and the largest single gift to Emory Law.

“I am grateful to Southern Company Foundation for this visionary investment,” says Emory President Gregory L. Fenves. “By making this historic and timely gift to Emory University, they have sent a powerful message about our shared commitment to civil rights and social justice. This grant will provide our students and scholars with the resources to lead in their fields and make breakthroughs to serve communities in Georgia and across the nation.” 

The newly established center enhances the law school’s already rich focus on issues of civil rights, human rights, and social justice and will serve as a hub for interdisciplinary scholarship, research, teaching, evidence-based policy reform, and community outreach that improves the lives of individuals who have experienced violations of their civil rights and been impacted by social injustice. 

"We are incredibly pleased that Emory has further prioritized issues of social justice in our society with the recruitment of Professor Hutchinson as the John Lewis Chair earlier this year,” says Chris Womack, President, CEO, and Chairman of Georgia Power.  “Through this new center, we now look forward to helping Emory Law build programs to advance civil rights, equity, and justice in our community and nationwide." 

The grant will provide critical funding necessary to fulfill a key strategic priority for the law school, according to Emory Law Dean and Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Law Mary Anne Bobinski.  “The law school’s new strategic plan establishes civil rights and social justice as key areas of focus for research, teaching and community engagement,” says Dean Bobinski. “Southern Company Foundation’s record-breaking gift will enable Emory Law to accelerate our work in these critically important areas and to address long standing challenges related to civil rights and social justice through research and university and community partnerships.”   

Emory Law named acclaimed legal scholar and social justice advocate Darren Lenard Hutchinson as the inaugural John Lewis Chair for Civil Rights and Social Justice in April of this year. The philanthropically funded John Lewis Chair for Civil Rights and Social Justice is intended to serve as a lasting tribute to the legacy of “good trouble” advocated by the late congressman from Georgia’s Fifth District and establish Emory Law as a leader in teaching, research, and community engagement related to civil rights and social justice. 

About Emory University School of Law

Emory Law is a national and global leader in legal education that supports pathbreaking and influential scholarship and offers exceptional teaching and practical learning opportunities that enable our alumni to become respected professionals and leaders in a rapidly changing world. Emory Law strives for a diverse and inclusive law school community that works together to secure a more fair and just society by advancing the rule of law.