Dean Blake Morant remembers Sen. Edward Kennedy

As the nation mourns the loss of Massachusetts Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, stories about the many lives he touched personally have dominated the news.

One of those lives includes Wake Forest University School of Law Dean Blake Morant.

Morant was the recipient of the Ribble-Kennedy Scholarship when he entered law school at the University of Virginia, where Kennedy also earned his law degree.

Morant has a personal congratulatory letter, on official U.S. Senate letterhead and signed by Kennedy, hanging in a frame in his office. The letter reads, “Your outstanding academic record and your dedication to the study of the law is most commendable, Blake, and I wish you continued success.”

Morant says he was very honored to receive the merit-based scholarship. “And it really helped me get through law school at UVA,” he said. “He touched my life very substantively. It is because of his family’s commitment and legacy, in part, that I am where I am today.”

Kennedy, who was affectionately known as the liberal lion of the Senate, died Wednesday at his home in Hyannis Port after battling a brain tumor. He was 77. He was the third-longest office holder in the U.S. Senator and a dominant voice on health care and civil rights, among others, as well as the last surviving brother of the storied Kennedy family, which included President John F. Kennedy and N.Y. Sen. Robert Kennedy.