Members of the Black Law Students Association decided to honor a local legacy in a significant way, by adopting a new chapter name. After approval by the National BLSA, the group will now be known as the Oliver Hill Chapter at the University of Richmond School of Law.

Best known for his work to end racial discrimination, Hill was a major player in prominent desegregation cases, including Davis v. County School Board of Prince Edward County, one of the cases decided under Brown v. Board of Education.

“When contemplating the type of legacy we want to leave behind, we decided it was important to embrace and honor Oliver Hill, whose vision we truly support and believe in,” said Courtni Weaver, L’21, president of BLSA. 

A recipient of Richmond Law’s Green Award for Professional Excellence, Hill had a longstanding relationship with the Law School. In 2003, two Richmond Law students led the drive to honor Hill’s work and that relationship with the Law School by fundraising and commissioning a painting by local artist Elaine Bankston. The portrait hung in the law school until 2015, when it was loaned to the Virginia Governor’s Mansion.

The Richmond Law chapter that now bears Hill’s name is an active one. Most recently, BLSA students hosted a donation drive for hurricane victims in the Bahamas, as well as an event on the intersection of race and environmental justice. Weaver announced the new chapter name at a Nov. 6, 2019 BLSA panel featuring notable African American judges – and the news was met with resounding applause. “There is so much in a name, and we want to share one with a man who fought tooth and nail for equal rights and was a prolific member of the legal community,” said Weaver. “Transforming into the Oliver Hill chapter gives us a history to learn from and a future to aspire to.”

Photo: The chapter name change was announced at the Nov. 6 BLSA judges panel, ‘An Honorable Conversation.’ Pictured here from left to right are newly elected Virginia Commonwealth's Attorney Colette McEachin, 2L Courtni Weaver, and the Hon. Cleo Powell.