Correll Kennedy (’17), Cheslie Kryst (’16) and Nabila Abdulhafiz (’15) awarded 2015 BLSA scholarships

Photo of Judge Roger L. Gregory giving the keynote address at BSLA scholarship banquet

The Honorable Roger L. Gregory, Judge, Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals makes keynote address at BSLA scholarship banquet in 2015.

The Wake Forest Black Law Students Association (BLSA) hosted its 30th annual Scholarship Banquet on Friday, Feb. 13, 2015, at the Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts. The BLSA Scholarship fund was established in 1984 with donations from faculty, firms and alumni to assist law students with tuition. 

Correll Kennedy ('17)

Correll Kennedy (’17)

The evening featured the awarding of BLSA scholarships to current students: Correll Kennedy (’17), Cheslie Kryst (’16) and Nabila Abdulhafiz (’15). The Honorable Denise S. Hartsfield (‘91) presented the scholarship awards and read excerpts from the essays of these students. Ariana Burnette (’16) organized the event and served as the Mistress of Ceremonies.

Judge Denise Hartsfield ('91) and Nabila Abdulhafiz ('15)

Judge Denise Hartsfield (’91) and Nabila Abdulhafiz (’15)


The theme of the 2015 banquet was “Rising Above,” which Dionne Jenkins, president of the Winston-Salem Bar Association, cited as very appropriate for the evening saying to the students, alumni, and guests, “You all have proven that you are capable of rising above adversity and the many, many challenges that life may throw at you simply by being where you are today.”

The BLSA Legacy Award was presented to Tracey Banks Coan, assistant dean for Academic Engagement and associate professor. Banks also presented the charge to graduating BLSA members at the close of the ceremony referring to the Pro Humanitate motto of Wake Forest University, and what it means to be a lawyer, an advocate for others in the legal system. “My charge to you is to remember who you are, and also remember who you’ve always planned to be,” Coan said.

The keynote address was given by Judge Roger Gregory of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. He joined the court in 2001 after being nominated by former President Bill Clinton. He received his bachelor’s degree from Virginia State University and his J.D. in 1978 from Michigan Law School.

“It’s not just about being a lawyer. It’s about being a lawyer committed to courage. You can go to medical school and not have any real notion of what healing is. You can be a theologian and not really know what faith is. And you can be a lawyer and not understand what justice is. It is so important that we understand justice, that we are committed to that,” said Gregory during his keynote address. “Just being a lawyer does not mean that you’re on the side of or that you work for justice. It takes effort, it takes courage, it takes commitment and an understanding and willingness to work hard.”

The evening included special tributes to honor two law school alumni — Terry Hart Lee (’74) and David H. Wagner Jr. (’68) — both of whom died in in the past two years.  Shirley Cloud, a family friend of Lee, honored Lee, who was the first female African-American graduate of Wake Forest Law. David H. Wagner III spoke in honor of his father, David H. Wagner Jr.

Interim Dean Suzanne Reynolds (’77) provided closing remarks saying, “Consistently, BLSA reminds us of our past. Tonight, they reminded us first with a beautiful poetry reading of the work of Dr. Maya Angelou, reminding us of Terry Lee Hart, of the legacy we have from David Wagner, but they also push us forward and help us rise above. They do that most of all by keeping the attention focused on the students and the BLSA members.”

The BLSA Banquet was established in 1985 and remains a cornerstone of BLSA’s legacy in raising scholarship funds for students.

View the album of photos on Flickr.