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California Western Students Honored by Earl B. Gilliam Bar Association

2L Samantha McPherson (left) and 3L Ashley Turner (third from left) receive scholarships from the Earl B. Gilliam Bar Association

Two California Western students have been awarded scholarships by the Earl B. Gilliam Bar Association (EBGBA). Ashley Turner and Samantha McPherson were honored at the association’s 37th Annual Awards and Scholarship Dinner, on November 9, cheered on by a large delegation from California Western. Turner received the Judicial Scholarship and McPherson received the Lourine Twyman Scholarship.

“We are so proud of Ashley and Sammie,” says Marion Cloete, California Western’s Director of Diversity Services. “Both Judge Gilliam and Lourine Twyman were models of civic responsibility and personal sacrifice in pursuit of a just society. These two hardworking law students were well-chosen for these awards and we thank the bar association for recognizing them.”

“Receiving a Judicial Scholarship from EBGBA is an honor,” says Turner. “EBGBA represents a long legacy of prominent judges, attorneys, and legal professionals—I look up to all of them. Knowing that EBGBA supports me and believes in me only motivates me to work harder to achieve my goals. In my life I have always dreamed big. I attended law school because I want to promote the administration of justice and dismantle barriers that limit student access to an equitable education. More than mere money, this scholarship is validation that my dreams are more attainable than ever."

"I felt extremely honored and blessed to have received this scholarship,” says McPherson. “Ironically, a dear friend and mentor received this very same scholarship 10 years ago.” That friend, Udoka Nwanna ’03 is the outgoing president of EBGBA.

“She presented me with the award at the EBGBA Dinner,” McPherson adds. “It was a nice reminder that prominent members in our San Diego community started out as law students but continued to follow their dreams."

The late Earl B. Gilliam was a trailblazer in every sense of the word. He was the first African-American to be appointed to the San Diego County Superior Court and later the first African-American federal judge for the Southern District of California. The Earl B. Gilliam Bar Association honors his distinguished legacy and continues to inspire its members and the San Diego legal community to this day.

California Western’s support of the EBGBA is part of the law school’s central belief that a diversified student body enriches the academic and interpersonal experiences of law school. The faculty and staff quickly and comfortably welcome each student into the school community, encouraging all students to participate in the numerous academic, multicultural, pre-professional, and social opportunities present at the law school.