The School of Law held its 25th annual Thurgood Marshall Award Ceremony Nov. 8 in the School of Law Center.
The annual award is presented by the Quinnipiac Black Law Students Association. This year’s recipient was Sanford Cloud, Jr., the chairman and CEO of The Cloud Company, LLC, a real estate development and business investment firm. He is the former president and chief executive officer of the National Conference for Community and Justice, a human relations organization dedicated to fighting bias, bigotry and racism in America and promoting understanding among all races, religions and cultures. Internationally, Cloud represented NCCJ as a member of President Carter’s delegation to oversee the first Palestinian elections in Jerusalem. Cloud also helped found National Voices for an inclusive 21st Century, a collaboration of national human relations and civil rights organizations that work together to confront bias, bigotry and racism.
Cloud currently serves on the board of directors of Northeast Utilities and is its lead director, as well as on the Board of Directors of The Phoenix Companies, Inc., Ironwood Mezzanine Fund LP, the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, and The Fund for Greater Hartford. He is chairman of the Board of the University of Connecticut Health Center and The Connecticut Health Foundation.
Cloud was a partner in the law firm of Robinson & Cole in Hartford, Conn. Through much of the 1980s, he worked for Aetna Inc. as vice president, corporate public involvement and served as the executive director of the Aetna Foundation. As chair of the company’s Corporate Responsibility Investment Committee, he directed Aetna’s socially responsible investments. Active in a range of philanthropic leadership organizations, Cloud served as vice chairperson and board member of the Independent Sector, a national coalition of foundations, corporations and voluntary organizations, and led its Task Force on Accountability and Effectiveness of the Nonprofit Sector. He also served as a member of the board of directors of the Council on Foundations, was chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Hartford Seminary, and was a member of the American Bar Association’s Commission on Minorities. Additionally, he served as an adviser of the Kellogg Foundation National Fellowship Program. A former two-term Connecticut state senator, Cloud’s accomplishments include primary sponsorship of legislation creating the state’s first department of housing. He also served as chairman of the Planning and Development Committee and was a member of the Appropriations and Judiciary Committees.
The ceremony also includes a Service to Youth Award. This year’s recipient was Adrienne Dean-Parkmound JD ’95, the executive vice president of The WorkPlace, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing employment and job training services to adults and youth in Fairfield County. During her 11-year tenure at The WorkPlace, the organization has evolved into a nationally recognized leader in creating state-of-the-art workforce development programs. Dean-Parkmond leads a team of 32 in the implementation and operation of more than $20 million in grant funded programs each year. She is responsible for the design and implementation of programs for youth, people with disabilities, veterans, long-term unemployed, and mature workers.
The Thurgood Marshall award is named for Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, who was the great-grandson of a slave. After completing high school in 1925, he attended the historically black Lincoln University in Chester County, Pennsylvania. In 1930, Marshall applied to the University of Maryland Law School, but was denied admission because of his race. Later he applied and was accepted at Howard University Law School. After completing law school, Marshall’s first major court case came in 1933 when he successfully sued the University of Maryland Law School, requiring the University to admit minority students. During his legal career, Marshall served as chief counsel for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Legal Defense Fund. During that time, he won 29 Supreme Court victories, most notably, Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka. In 1954, he was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. In 1965, he was appointed to the office of the U.S. Solicitor General. Marshall became the first African-American appointed to the United States Supreme Court in 1967. In 1993, Marshall died at the age of 84, but his legacy and his commitment to legal excellence and equality live on.