Athens, Ga. – Georgia Supreme Court Justice Robert Benham, a 1970 graduate of the University of Georgia School of Law, will be honored Thursday, April 7, at an event titled “Fulfilling the American Dream,” cosponsored by the UGA Student Government Association and a number of other university groups.
Former Gov. Roy Barnes, also a UGA law graduate, will speak and present Benham with the award at 2 p.m. in the University Chapel. The event is open free to the public.
Benham, a native of Cartersville, is the first African American to serve on the Georgia Supreme Court and the first to serve as chief justice. He was appointed to the court in 1989 by former Gov. Joe Frank Harris and was elected to a full term in 1990.
The event honoring Benham is part of the SGA’s African American Leadership Series, which was started in 2003 to inspire students to maximize their leadership potential.
Barnes will speak and present Benham the first “Fulfilling the American Dream Award.” A number of other judicial officials will attend including John Ruffin Jr., chief judge of the Georgia Court of Appeals, and Superior Court Judges Lawton Stephens, Steve Jones and David Sweat.
Event cosponsors include African America
In 1984, Harris appointed Benham to the Georgia Court of Appeals and later that year he won a statewide election to the post, becoming the first African American elected to a statewide position in Georgia history.
Other cosponsors of the event include the African American Cultural Center, UGA Alumni Association, Black Law Student Association, Franklin College’s department of criminal justice, Women’s Studies, Graduate and Professional Scholars, Graduate Student Association, InfUSion Magazine, John F. Lyndon Law Office, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Office of Development, Office of Institutional Diversity, Office of Multicultural Services and Programs, Office of the Attorney General of the State of Georgia, School of Law and School of Public and International Affairs.