Vol. 19, No. 38

Aug. 24, 2000

Leland Ware to serve as first Louis L. Redding Chair

Leland Ware, a law professor, former trial attorney and author of numerous publications on civil rights law, will serve as the University of Delaware's first Louis L. Redding Chair for the Study of Law and Public Policy, Provost Mel Schiavelli has announced.

Ware, a professor at St. Louis University School of Law since 1987, will begin his new position Sept. 1. The recently created, endowed professorship in the College of Human Services, Education and Public Policy memorializes Mr. Redding, a civil rights pioneer from Wilmington, who won the lawsuit that desegregated the University in 1950.

"Leland Ware is a scholar, teacher and community leader who will continue Louis Redding's legacy by inspiring future leaders in the area of law and public policy," Schiavelli said. "He shares Mr. Redding's commitment to using the law to achieve equality, diversity and social justice for all."

Ware, who said his choice of law as a career grew out of his involvement in civil rights issues in the 1960s, has written extensively on subjects including civil rights and higher education law, segregation, fair housing and affirmative action. The fact that the Redding Chair is designed specifically to combine teaching, scholarship and community involvement is what attracted him to the position, he said.

Ware said his wife, a professor of education at the University of Missouri at St. Louis, first saw a notice that UD was seeking applicants for the Redding Chair. "This sounds just like what you do," she told him. After reading the description of the position, "I had to agree with her," he said.

"The position calls for an unusual mix of academic qualifications, civil rights activism and a background in legal practice," Ware said. "I've long been interested in civil rights law and active in public outreach and community involvement. I'm looking forward to this opportunity as an exciting and enriching experience."

As the Redding Chair, Ware will work with faculty, staff and students in the graduate School of Urban Affairs and Public Policy and also will teach undergraduate students, focusing on the role of the law in public policy and social change. In addition, he will serve as a resource for the larger community, participating in research and public service projects and engaging community leaders and citizens on critical public issues. Plans also call for an annual conference on issues of race, diversity, law and public policy, which will include participation by community leaders and national scholars.

"Leland Ware is a wonderful addition to the College of Human Services, Education and Public Policy, because he shares our commitment to bridging the gap between the classroom and the community and to improving the social and economic well-being of all citizens," Dan Rich, dean of the college, said. "He will be a wonderful addition to Delaware, too, because of his great willingness to be available to, and active in, the wider community as well as the University community."

Ware, who said his research in the history of civil rights law had made him very familiar with Mr. Redding's role in public-school desegregation and other issues of social justice, described himself as honored to hold a position memorializing Delaware's first African-American lawyer. During visits to Delaware to discuss the Redding Chair, he met with UD faculty and students, community leaders and members of the Delaware bench and bar. Organizing an annual symposium to bring such people together "is one of the things I'm most looking forward to" in the position, Ware said.

Ware earned his bachelor's degree in history from Fisk University in 1970 and his law degree from Boston College Law School in 1973. He was in private practice, focusing on civil litigation, in Atlanta until 1976, when he became assistant regional attorney for the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare. From 1979 to 1984, he was a trial attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Division and was then university counsel for litigation for Howard University, until joining the St. Louis University School of Law faculty in 1987. There he taught courses in civil rights law and social change, employment discrimination, civil procedure and administrative law.

Ware was a visiting professor at Boston College Law School in 1992 and at Ruhr University Bochum in Germany in 1997. Awarded the Thompson and Mitchell Award for best faculty article in 1991, Ware also received special recognition from the Missouri Bar for two previous articles. He is a member of the Georgia and District of Columbia bars and serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of the Missouri Bar and the Fair Housing Fair Lending Reporter. He also is a member of the national board of directors of the American Civil Liberties Union and was a consultant to the Administrative Conference of the United States.

Ware said he doesn't expect that teaching in the School of Urban Affairs and Public Policy instead of in a law school will present any adjustment problems. "After all, I'm not teaching lawyers now--I'm teaching students who want to be lawyers," he said. "At Delaware, I'll be teaching many of the same subjects and issues, and, when I met with a group of students in the School of Urban Affairs and Public Policy, I was very impressed with them. I enjoy the interaction with students in classes and seminars."

He and his wife, Melva, plan to live in Newark. They have an adult son, Leland Jr.

As part of UD's Campaign for Delaware, the Redding Chair was established with more than $1 million in donations from numerous sources, including MBNA America Bank and many other corporations, members of the Delaware bar, government and community groups, churches and individuals. It was created to be a lasting and living memorial to Mr. Redding, who died in 1998 at age 96.

Lawyer Redding, as he was respectfully and universally known in Delaware's African-American community, was instrumental in a host of cases that transformed the legal and social fabric of the state and the nation. He successfully opened the doors of the University and the Delaware public schools to African Americans and, with Thurgood Marshall, argued and won the landmark 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education case in which the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the "separate but equal" system of school desegregation.

–Ann Manser