Diana J. Cooper J.D. '13 received the Thurgood Marshall Award at the Law School's Diploma Ceremony on May 12. The William & Mary Law School Association awards the honor each year to a member of the graduating class who exhibits the ideals of, and commitment to, distinguished public service as exemplified by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall (1908-1993).
"Although many of our students have demonstrated a profound commitment to public service, this year, one student stood out among her peers with overwhelming support in the nomination process," said Law School Dean Davison M. Douglas who presented the award. "Congratulations, Diana, for your impressive contributions ... You have inspired us with your leadership and commitment to service."
A native of Hampton, Va., and graduate of Hampton University, Cooper has been a leader in the much-acclaimed Lewis B. Puller, Jr. Veterans Benefits Clinic. As a second-year student, she designed the Puller Clinic's Challenge Coin, which was created to recognize individuals who have demonstrated outstanding devotion to veterans. She also served as president of the Black Law Students Association (BLSA), which engages in a wide range of service projects in the local community. In fall 2012, for example, the group collected 4,201 items for local families in need during its annual Thanksgiving Basket Competition. Not only has the BLSA chapter been perhaps the most successful service-focused organization at the Law School, according to Douglas, it also has been consistently recognized as one of the most successful BLSA chapters at law schools in the nation.
Following graduation, Cooper plans to continue to work on behalf of veterans.