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University of Maryland names School of Public Policy building in honor of former US Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall

Thurgood Marshall Hall naming represents the university’s commitment to honoring pioneers and recognizes its contributions to the campus

COLLEGE PARK, Md., Feb. 17, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — University of Maryland Announces Newly Opened School of Public Policy Building Will Be Named after Civil Rights Attorney and Former State Supreme Court Justice United Thurgood Marshall. Throughout his career, Marshall has played a key role in breaking down barriers for black and African-American students, including the desegregation of the University of Maryland.

“Thurgood Marshall was a pioneer in justice and a pioneer as the first African American to serve on the Supreme Court,” said UMD President Darryll J. Pines. “He fought for important civil rights cases, including access to our university for all its citizens. Placing his name on the School of Public Policy building honors his contributions to our university, state and nation”.

Born in Baltimore, Marshall was rejected from the University of Maryland School of Law in 1930 because he was black. Soon after graduating from Howard University Law School, where he ranked first in his class, Marshall joined the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. He sued the University of Maryland on behalf of another black student seeking admission to law school and was part of the team that initiated successful legal battles against the university on behalf of Parren Mitchell and Hiram Whittle, who were denied admission based on their race. In 1950, Mitchell became the first black student to take graduate classes on the College Park campus, and a year later Whittle enrolled as the university’s first black undergraduate.

Marshall continued to discuss the historic case Brown v. Topeka Board of Education, which declared segregation unconstitutional. He was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1967 and served as an associate justice for 24 years.

“It is an honor to see the School of Public Policy building at the University of Maryland named after our father,” the Marshall family said in a statement. “This recognition serves as a testament to its legacy as an unrepentant pioneer for justice and equality. The inspiring work the School does every day to create the next generation of students embodies what was at its core: ensuring a more just and fair for all.”

Thurgood Marshall Hall supports the school’s mission to advance the public good by bringing together students, faculty, and other experts to foster world-changing political discourse and action.

“There is no better name to give this building than that of Thurgood Marshall,” said Robert C. Orr, dean of the School of Public Policy. “Judge Marshall’s legacy in desegregating, strengthening voting rights and promoting equal protection for every American is an inspiration to all of us. His work across the NAACP, the US judiciary and the Court Suprema serves as an important reminder of the role we play as policy makers in advancing the public good, both here at home and around the world.”

The 77,000-square-foot building, which opened in the fall of 2022, united the school’s growing community under one roof for the first time in its 40-year history and offers state-of-the-art teaching and collaboration spaces for students , faculty and staff.

A celebration of the name will be held at the end of the month.

About the University of Maryland

The University of Maryland (UMD) is the state’s flagship university and a major public research institution, powered by a $1.3 billion joint research enterprise. Located four miles outside of Washington, DC, the university is dedicated to addressing the great challenges of our time and is the nation’s first Do Good campus. It is led by a diverse and proudly inclusive community of over 50,000 fearless Terrapins. UMD is a leading producer of Fulbright Scholars and offers an unmatched student experience with over 300 academic programs, 25 live learning programs and 400 study abroad programs. Driven by a culture of innovation and creativity, UMD faculty are global leaders in their field and include Nobel laureates, Pulitzer Prize winners, and members of national academies. For more information about the University of Maryland, visit umd.edu.

SOURCE University of Maryland

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