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St. Thomas University College of Law, Ben Crump announce Center for Social Justice

Rendering of the Benjamin L. Crump Social Justice Center

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St. Thomas University Truist Ben Crump Law
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MIAMI GARDENS, DECEMBER 2, 2021 — Renowned attorney Ben Crump and St. Thomas University College of Law announced Thursday an initiative to prepare new and diverse lawyers to lead the fight for justice.

The Benjamin L. Crump Center for Social Justice at the St. Thomas University College of Law will provide innovative programming, symposia and training to catalyze the next generation of social justice engineers. The Center is initially funded by a $1 million leadership grant from Truist Financial Corporation through its Truist Charitable Fund, a donor-advised fund at The Winston-Salem Foundation.

Thursday also marked the opening of a $35 million campaign by the College of Law to support ongoing transformative efforts to champion students from traditionally marginalized communities and diversify the legal profession.

From left to right: STU Board of Trustees Chair John Dooner, STU President David A. Armstrong, J.D., STU College of Law Dean Tamara Lawson, Benjamin L. Crump, EVP at Truist Financial Wendy McSweeney, Herman Russomano, J.D., and Truist South Florida Regional President Tony Coley
From left to right: STU Board of Trustees Chair John Dooner, STU President David A. Armstrong, J.D., STU College of Law Dean Tamara Lawson, Benjamin L. Crump, EVP at Truist Financial Wendy McSweeney, Herman Russomano, J.D., and Truist South Florida Regional President Tony Coley.

Mr. Crump has been a leader in civil rights litigation this century, representing the families of Trayvon Martin, George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, among others, testifying in the United States Congress as well as at the United Nations, and was recognized with accolades on the global stage by Time magazine. Throughout his career, he has vigorously defended the rights of marginalized people in a wide range of cases including environmental issues, healthcare, intellectual property, and workplace safety. Mr. Crump has been a consistent advocate for access to the courts in all cases irrespective of race, class, or economic status.

“I believe America can be a country that lives up to its ideals, if we work for it,” Crump said. “Lawyers can be the social engineers, using the tools found in the Constitution, to expose the nature and depth of injustices — and to eliminate these injustices through education and advocacy. This Center will serve as a pipeline for historically marginalized students to get their law degrees and give back to society, following the legacy of my personal hero, Thurgood Marshall.”

The Benjamin L. Crump Center for Social Justice is intentionally located at the St. Thomas University College of Law, one of the nation’s most diverse law schools with established expertise in the areas of civil rights and intercultural human rights consistent with its Catholic mission.

“St. Thomas University and its College of Law are honored to house the Benjamin L. Crump Center for Social Justice on our campus,” said University President David A. Armstrong, J.D. “The Center will create opportunities for students who might have felt the legal profession was beyond their reach. We will all benefit from the impact they will have.”

The Center’s work has already begun. It currently supports an incubator program for new lawyers establishing themselves in the field, expanded pro bono service placements, and has increased need-based scholarship aid.

Black males make up the smallest cohort of law school students across all law schools — something St. Thomas is working to change. The Center is the new home for the College of Law’s Bald Eagle Initiative, which for 10 years has supported Black male law students achieving excellence both in law school and beyond, as they successfully transition into the profession. Soon the program will expand to support additional cohorts of first-generation law students.

“There is no better role model or mentor for our students than Ben Crump,” said College of Law Dean Tamara Lawson. “His career is a testament to what can be achieved with an unwavering commitment to justice and protecting those most in need. By joining our community, and partnering together, he is bringing College of Law students into the relevant legal conversations of our time.”

Crump, Armstrong and Lawson praised Truist for their commitment to the ongoing work of advancing equity in our society.

“In everything we do, Truist inspires and builds better lives and communities so every person has an equal opportunity to thrive,” Wendy McSweeney, Truist chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer, said. “The Benjamin L. Crump Center for Social Justice is a catalyst for future generations of lawyers committed to creating a more equitable society, and we’re proud to partner with Attorney Crump and St. Thomas to support the center from day one.”

 
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About St. Thomas University

St. Thomas University (STU) is a private, non-profit Catholic institution committed to the academic and professional success of its students who become ethical leaders in our global community. Rich with cultural and international diversity, STU is the only Catholic archdiocesan-sponsored university in Florida. On our beautiful campus and online, the university’s College of Science, College of Law, College of Business and Biscayne College offer 61 undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate degree programs.

 


About Truist Charitable Fund

The Truist Charitable Fund is a donor-advised fund created by Truist and administered by The Winston-Salem Foundation.

 


About Truist  

Truist Financial Corporation (NYSE: TFC) is a purpose-driven financial services company committed to inspiring and building better lives and communities. Formed by the historic merger of equals of BB&T and SunTrust, Truist has leading market share in many high-growth markets in the country. The company offers a wide range of services including retail, small business and commercial banking; asset management; capital markets; commercial real estate; corporate and institutional banking; insurance; mortgage; payments; specialized lending; and wealth management. Headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, Truist is a top 10 U.S. commercial bank with total assets of $530 billion as of September 30, 2021. Truist Bank, Member FDIC. Learn more at Truist.com.

 


About Ben Crump Law 

Nationally renowned civil rights and personal injury attorney Ben Crump and his national network of specialized attorneys have spearheaded a legal movement to better protect the rights of marginalized citizens. He has led landscape-changing civil rights cases and represented clients in a wide range of areas including civil rights, personal injury, labor and employment, class actions, and more. Ben Crump Law is dedicated to holding the powerful accountable. For more, visit BenCrump.com or call (800) 935-8111.

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