C|M|LAW Enters 3+3 Partnership with Oakwood University

Cleveland-Marshall College of Law is pleased to announce that it has entered into a 3+3 partnership with Oakwood University, an HBCU in Huntsville, Alabama (our second 3+3 agreement with an HBCU). These agreements permit students to complete both their undergraduate and law degrees in six years rather than seven, with their first year of law school satisfying the student’s final year of undergraduate credits, as well, saving students both time and money. Providing this opportunity is consistent with the value proposition inherent in everything we do.   

This latest 3+3 agreement is our 14th partnership. Since 2014, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law has created an internal 3+3 program at Cleveland State University and has entered into external 3+3 agreements with Lake Erie College, the University of Findlay, Ursuline College, Notre Dame College, Mercyhurst University (Pennsylvania), Trine University (Indiana), Marietta College, Hiram College, Wagner College (New York), Rust College (Mississippi), Baldwin Wallace University, and Kent State University. 

Oakwood University has been recognized as one of the top 20 historically black Christian colleges in the nation and is 16th in the nation of all colleges and universities for the number of black medical school applicants. Its 45- to 60-member choir, the Aeolians, has traveled the world and performed in the White House and at the Kennedy Center. Oakwood is known for its musical program and has among its alumni Little Richard, Angela Brown (soprano opera singer), multiple members of the gospel group Take 6, and others. Its alumni also includes Delbert Baker, a former President of Oakwood who currently serves on the White House Board for HBCUs; John F. Street, the two-term mayor of Philadelphia; Barry Black, the current chaplain to the United States Senate; Erica Thomas, a Georgia State Representative; T.R.M. Howard, civil rights leader, surgeon, and mentor to Medgar Evers and Fannie Lou Hamer; Sylvia Rhue, a writer, filmmaker, producer, and LGBT activist; and many others.  

Because of our history as a school of opportunity, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law has been reaching out to a number of HBCUs to join with us in 3+3 agreements. Oakwood University is the second HBCU to partner with us, after Rust College in Mississippi (signed October 2020).  

C|M|LAW’s Commitment to Providing Opportunity to a Diverse Population 

Preparing a diverse student body for the practice of law has been a hallmark of Cleveland-Marshall for more than 120 years. Since their early history, Cleveland-Marshall’s predecessor programs were dedicated to providing access to women and minority students at a time when they had been systematically denied a meaningful opportunity to attend law (and other professional) schools. We were the first law school in Ohio to admit women, and we were one of the first to admit African American students. The early 20th-century class photos lining the walls of the second-floor atrium provides clear evidence of that early commitment, which was intended to benefit not only the minority and women candidates that we admitted but also the legal profession itself, which badly needed (and still needs) more minority and women lawyers for the good of the profession and civil society.  

For example, just a small sample of C|M minority graduates who benefited from our commitment to providing opportunity and who have made meaningful contributions to American life and the legal profession include many members of our Hall of Fame:  

  • Congresswoman Marcia Fudge (class of 1983), 11th Congressional District of Ohio 
  • Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson (class of 1983) 
  • Justice Melody J. Stewart (class of 1988), Ohio Supreme Court 
  • Judge Ronald B. Adrine (class of 1973), senior staff counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on Assassinations, long-time Judge on Cleveland Municipal Court, spearheaded Cleveland Bar Association’s Minority Clerkship Program 
  • Teresa Metcalf Beasley (class of 1993), partner at Calfee, Halter & Griswold, former Law Director of the City of Cleveland and member of Mayor Frank Jackson’s Special Commission on Missing Persons and Sex Crime Investigations 
  • Chief Magistrate Gregory F. Clifford (class of 1980), founder of the Minority Outreach Committee to help C|M minority law students acclimate to law school and the legal profession 
  • Sheryl King Bedford (class of 1979), Cleveland Regional Transit Authority Chief Legal Officer 
  • Judge Patricia A. Blackmon (class of 1979), Ohio 8th District Court of Appeals, formerly Chief Prosecutor for the City of Cleveland and Assistant Director of the Victim/Witness Assistance Program 
  • Hon. George Forbes (class of 1962), Cleveland City Council’s first African-American President 
  • James L. Hardiman (class of 1968), legal director of the ACLU of Ohio 
  • Larry H. James (class of 1977), Managing Partner of Crabbe, Brown & James 
  • Judge Benita Pearson (class of 1995), U.S. Dist. Court Northern District of Ohio 
  • Leonard D. Young (class of 1974), first African American to serve as General Counsel for a Fortune 500 corporation 
  • the late Nona M. Burney (class of 1981), a life-long teacher who started Cleveland’s Martin Luther King Law and Public Service Magnet High School and who became a Professor at Roosevelt University in Chicago, working to prevent closure of Chicago neighborhood schools 
  • the late Annette Garner Butler (class of 1970), Equal Opportunity Specialist for the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare’s Office of Civil Rights, 24 years as an Assistant U.S. Attorney, Judge on Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, and first elected woman President and Board Chair of the City Club of Cleveland 
  • the late Russell T. Adrine (class of 1954), President of Cleveland chapters of Urban League and NAACP 
  • the late Lillian W. Burke (class of 1951), granddaughter of a slave and the first African American woman to serve in the Ohio judiciary 
  • the late Judge Charles W. Fleming (class of 1955), elected to Cleveland Municipal Court, serving for 19 years 
  • the late Clarence L. James, Jr. (class of 1962), serving as Cleveland Law Director and later serving as Jimmy Carter’s Deputy Campaign manager 
  • the late C. Lyonel Jones (class of 1963), Executive Director of the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland 
  • the late Reuben M. Payne (class of 1953), who served as lead prosecutor in the landmark Supreme Court case of Terry v. Ohio 
  • the late Carl B. Stokes (class of 1956), the first African American mayor of a major U.S. city (Cleveland) 
  • the late long-serving Congressman Louis Stokes (class of 1953), 11th Congressional District of Ohio 
  • the late Stanley E. Tolliver, Sr. (class of 1953), representing civil rights protestors in Mississippi, Glenville riots defendants, and college students involved in the fatal Kent State shootings in 1970 
  • the late Judge George W. White (class of 1955), Chief Judge of U.S. Dist. Court Northern Ohio, credited with ending Cleveland’s 25-year desegregation case and creating the United Black Fund of Cleveland 
  • the late Judge Jean Murrell Capers (class of 1945), first African American woman elected to Cleveland City Council, appointed an Assistant State Attorney General, and appointed to Cleveland Municipal Court 
  • the late Charles V. Carr (class of 1926), grandson of a slave and 30-year veteran of Cleveland City Council  
  • the late State Representative William H. Clifford (class of 1902), believed to be the first African American male alumnus of one of our predecessor schools 
  • the late Jane Edna Hunter (class of 1925), for whom the principal building of the Cuyahoga County Department of Children and Family Services is named in honor of her work with children and families 
  • the late Norman S. Minor (class of 1927), the first African American Assistant Cuyahoga County Prosecutor, in whose honor the Cleveland affiliate of the National Bar Association is named 
  • the late Lawrence O. Payne (class of 1923), named the city’s first African American Assistant Police Prosecutor, elected to Cleveland City Council, and a partner in the creation of The Call and Post, Cleveland’s former African American newspaper 
  • the late Louise Johnson Pridgeon (class of 1922), one of Cleveland’s first African American women lawyers and President of the Harlan Law Club (predecessor to the Norman Minor Bar Association) 
  • the late Hazel Mountain Walker (class of 1919), Cleveland’s first African American school principal and one of the first black women admitted to the bar, which she did “to prove that black women could earn law degrees.” 

Seeking out 3+3 partnerships with HBCUs will permit us to continue this tradition. 

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