Convocation, literally a "calling together" of the College community, celebrates the formal opening of the academic year, welcomes new students to the College and recognizes the new senior class. This year, the campus community gathered Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012, for Convocation, immediately followed by an all-campus picnic and a ribbon-cutting to celebrate the grand opening of the College's new Science Center at New London Hall.
The keynote speaker at this year's event was noted civil rights lawyer Debo P. Adegbile '91, the acting president and director-counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. He spoke about a closely watched case on affirmative action in higher education, expected to be heard by the Supreme Court later this fall.
The Legal Defense Fund’s (LDF) legal program focuses on economic justice, criminal justice, education, political participation, policy and legislative advocacy. Its national litigation practice encompasses trial, appellate, and U.S. Supreme Court cases. In 2009, Adegbile successfully argued against a constitutional challenge to the core federal preclearance provision of the Voting Rights Act before the U.S. Supreme Court in Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District No. One v. Holder. In 2010, Adegbile supervised the LDF team that successfully litigated an employment case before the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of African-American firefighter applicants in Lewis v. City of Chicago. Prior to joining LDF in 2001, Adegbile was a litigation associate at the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind,Wharton & Garrison for seven years. While there, he worked closely with Judge A. Leon Higginbotham Jr. on several major cases, and represented the firm’s clients in a broad range of civil rights and commercial matters.
Adegbile received a J.D. from New York University School of Law in 1994 and a B.A. in Government from Connecticut College in 1991. He was awarded the College's Anna Lord Strauss Medal given annually to the graduating senior who has rendered outstanding college and community service. He is a trustee of Connecticut College and Manhattan Country School.
Listen to the keynote address by Debo P. Adegbile '91, available at Digital Commons.