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New Scholarship Honors Judge Howard

A new scholarship at the UALR William H. Bowen School of Law will honor the late U.S. District Court Judge George Howard Jr. of Pine Bluff, the first African American federal district judge in Arkansas and one of the “Six Pioneers” who racially integrated the law school at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.

The Judge George Howard Jr. Memorial Scholarship will honor the jurist and provide education-related expenses to an outstanding student who may be among the first in his or her immediate family to pursue a graduate degree or who in other ways is economically disadvantaged.

The scholarship was funded with memorial gifts honoring Howard after he died in April 2007 and from donations from his widow, Vivian Howard, and daughter, Bowen Professor Sarah Howard Jenkins-Hobbs.

“A World War II veteran, attorney, and federal judge, Judge Howard was the epitome of fairness and was committed to civil rights in and out of the courtroom,” said Dean John DiPippa. “He blazed trails toward access to justice for all Arkansans, and we know the student who will receive this scholarship will work to continue Judge Howard’s legacy.”

Howard served first on the United States District Court for the Western District of Arkansas and was then transferred to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas. In 1977, Gov. David Pryor named him to the Arkansas Supreme Court, and in 1979, Gov. Bill Clinton appointed Howard to the Arkansas Court of Appeals.

Howard would hold this position only briefly, as President Carter appointed him federal judge for the Eastern and Western districts of Arkansas in 1980, a position he would hold until his death.

Judge Howard played an important judicial role in the Whitewater trial, which led to the downfall of then Arkansas Gov. Jim Guy Tucker
and the impeachment of President Bill Clinton in 1998.

“Just as Judge Howard made a lasting impact on our state, we hope to give this scholarship to a student who has demonstrated social commitment and whose mission is to enrich his or her community,” said Wanda G. Hoover, assistant dean for external relations. “The Judge George Howard Jr. Scholar will endeavor to live with honor, act with intelligence, and lead with integrity.”