GW Law Alumni Celebrate Black History Month

The Jeanette A. Michael Memorial Scholarship

February 10, 2021

Black History Month Banner


Black History Month is a dedicated time and opportunity for the GW Law community to celebrate our past, present, and future. Black history is American history, and as an academic institution, we are committed to bringing forward the stories and lived experiences of the Black community. We want to honor, learn, and think about Black history all year long, but the month of February should symbolize our university’s and country’s commitment to intentionally pausing in order to reflect and to celebrate together.


Partner with us

The Jeanette A. Michael Memorial Scholarship Fund was established in 2014 by multiple donors from the Black Law Alumni Association, family, friends, and Jeanette A. Michael’s own bequest to the law school. The fund establishes an endowment to support scholarships providing financial assistance to qualified Black Juris Doctor degree candidates enrolled at the law school. Endowed in 2017, the scholarship creates a lasting legacy of support by providing funds for financial aid in perpetuity.

Give to the Scholarship Fund


Celebrate with us

The GW Law Association of Black Law Alumni (ABLA) will honor this year’s recipient of the Jeanette A. Michael, JD ’75, Memorial Scholarship Award at a virtual reception on February 25 at 6:30 pm. Alumni, spouses, and friends are invited to celebrate. We hope you will join us as we honor the legacy of Jeanette A. Michael, recognize the work of ABLA, acknowledge our donors, and congratulate our award recipient. RSVP here.



Fireside Chat with Deborah N. Archer, President, American Civil Liberties Union

On Wednesday, February 24, GW Law hosted a fireside chat featuring Deborah N. Archer, the first Black president in the 101-year history of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). She will discuss her vision for the ACLU and for the nation, as well as her journey in becoming the ACLU's first Black leader. Dean Dayna Bowen Matthew will moderate the discussion. Learn more.

Portrait of Deborah Archer


Hear from former scholarship recipients about how Jeanette A. Michael's life and legacy impacted their outlook on community engagement and service.  

Jeanmarie Elican

Portait of Jeanmarie Elican


"Jeanette A. Michael's life, legacy, and scholarship have impacted my legal career because of the financial burden her legacy continues to alleviate through scholarship. Ms. Michael's life and legacy remind me of the zealous trailblazers who came before me, committed to prioritizing community, and edifying the legal profession through supporting Black voices. Being a law student poses ample challenges, while the intersectionality of being Black, "first-gen",  and woman creates other obstacles. Ms. Michael's legacy lets me know that I was never alone in my endeavors, and encourages me to continue putting community first, despite opposition. I am indebted to Ms. Michael, who came before me, and I am humbled to continue her legacy through service both in the legal profession and the community-at-large."

Jordan Harvey

Portait of Jordan Harvey


"Being a recipient of the Jeanette A. Michael Memorial Scholarship motivates me to support the success of Black GW students and alumni through academic and professional mentoring. Ms. Michael's legacy of service and community engagement has also inspired me to serve on the boards of the GW Association of Black Law Alumni and the GW Law Alumni Association. She reached back and invested in her community, and I strive to do the same because of her example."

Sacred B. Huff

Portait of Jordan Harvey


"Being a recipient of the Jeanette A. Michael Scholarship further inspired me to serve my community and it strengthened my commitment to fighting for social justice. Ms. Michael embodied strength and dedicated her career to the advancement of Black legal professionals, which encourages me to follow a similar path. I feel honored to have received an award that recognizes her legacy."

Melinda Momplaisir

Portait of Melinda Momplaisir


"Jeanette A. Michael was known for her kindness and dedication to her classmates, and her legacy provided me with a safe space to grow as an attorney. I owe my law school success to GW Law’s Black Law Student Association (BLSA), Association of Black Law Alumni (ABLA), and faculty of color. A motto of BLSA and ABLA is a family that supports each other and lifts those coming behind. Ms. Michael helped establish this familial lift as you climb bond as a founder of GW’s Black Law Alumni Association (now ABLA), creating a space to support alumni and students. It was my BLSA/ABLA family that guided me as I navigated the racial bias that black law students face. I in turn was inspired to serve as president of BLSA and now as Public Relations Chair of the ABLA, dedicated to uniting and uplifting alumni across the country. Moreover, I serve on GW Law Alumni Association’s Board of Directors, to encourage diverse voices in alumni decisions. Outside of GW Law, I am the Vice President of Planning and Programming for the Sterling (New York City) Chapter of the National Black Prosecutors Association, serving along with two ABLA members. In all these roles, I strive to carry Ms. Michael’s legacy of uplifting the voices of black attorneys, voices that systemic racism has sought to quiet." 

Roberta Oluwaseun Roberts

Portait of Roberta Roberts


"Being named the inaugural recipient of the Jeanette A. Michael Scholarship is one of the highlights of my legal career and serves as a constant reminder to me of the importance of public service. I have taken this honor seriously and continue to dedicate my career to public service, having served more than five years as an attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice, where I have been since graduation from GW Law. This honor also motivates me to continue helping those who come after me, whether it be by mentoring and teaching young women law students and attorneys of color or by serving as DOJ's Association of Black Attorneys Chair of the Attorney Recruitment and Professional Development Committee. I greatly admire the life and legacy of Jeanette A. Michael and strive to live and serve in such a way that I too may leave a legacy of community engagement and service."