Martin Luther King Day Commemorative Program to Honor Judge Schwartz
Web Editor - Published: February 9, 2010
MLKProgramPromoOn Friday, February 12th, the Ruby R. Vale Moot Courtroom will host a Martin Luther King Day Commemorative Program from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.

The program will feature a tribute to the Honorable Murray M. Schwartz, retired Chief Judge for the United States District Court, District of Delaware. The program also includes the presentation of the First Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Semester of Service Award for Dedication to Community Service and Social Justice as well as the launching of the Fourth Annual Martin Luther King Semester of Service Program.

Judge Murray M. Schwartz was born in 1931. He graduated from the Wharton School in 1952 and the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1955. After graduating, he clerked for U.S. District Judge J. Caleb Wright, and in 1974 President Richard M. Nixon nominated him to the United States District Court for the District of Delaware. Judge Schwartz presided over the New Castle County school desegregation beginning in the late 1970s and continuing into the early 1990s. In 1990, the Saint Thomas More Society of Delaware awarded Judge Schwartz the Saint Thomas Award for his “strong and pervasive sense of justice” and his “outstanding service to the community,” and in 2004, the Delaware State Bar Association gave him the First State Distinguished Service Award.

"I think it's wonderful that the school is honoring Judge Schwartz this way. He's such a great role model, such a fine example of what judges, indeed what lawyers, should be,” says Professor Robert L. Hayman Jr., adding, “And for those of us who grew up in Delaware, or have kids growing up in Delaware, he really is a hero: at great personal risk, and I think at some cost, he gave us and our children a change to go to genuinely desegregated schools. That's quite a gift; I'm not sure we can ever adequately thank him."

Speakers for the Judge Schwartz tribute include: the Honorable Thomas L. Ambro of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit; Professor Catherine J. Lanctot of Villanova Law School – who clerked for Judge Schwartz; Executive Director of the Delaware ACLU Drewry Nash Fennell, Esq.; and Professor Leland Ware, the Louis L. Redding Chair and Professor of Law & Public Policy at the University of Delaware. Professor Ware and Professor Hayman are the co-authors of a new book on desegregation entitled “Choosing Equality: Essays and Narratives on the Desegregation Experience.”

The Martin Luther King Semester of Service, now in its fourth year, is a joint project run by Dr. Sydney Howe-Barksdale of Widener Law’s Public Interest Resource Center, and Professor Robert L. Hayman Jr. and the Law and Inequality Project. Last year, the program saw nearly 80 students contribute over a thousand hours of service through the project.