Sherrilyn Ifill, an influential civil rights lawyer who heads the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, will receive the 2022 Radcliffe Medal, Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study announced last Friday.
Ifill, author and law professor, has directed the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund since 2013.
The medal, the highest honor bestowed by the Radcliffe Institute, honors an annual recipient who “embodies its commitment to excellence, inclusion and social impact,” said a press release announcing Ifill’s selection. . It was first awarded in 1987.
Previous recipients of the award include former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, author Toni Morrison, philanthropist Melinda F. Gates and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Ifill will receive the award on Radcliffe Day, which is held during Harvard’s launch week in May.
As an attorney for the NAACP, she argued suffrage cases and fought against educational inequality and voter suppression. She first joined the NAACP in 1988, but left the organization to join the faculty of the University of Maryland Law School in Baltimore, where she taught constitutional law and civil procedure.
Ifill is part of a commission convened by President Joe Biden last year to review Supreme Court reforms.
Ifill was previously recognized as one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time Magazine.
This year, Radcliffe Day programming will focus on examining how to increase inclusiveness in higher education.
“Sherrilyn embodies the highest ideals of Radcliffe,” Tomiko Brown-Nagin, dean of the Radcliffe Institute, said in a press release. “She is an influential scholar and educator, and she is deeply committed to the hard work of change. As a nation, we owe much to his revolutionary leadership. »
—Editor Caroline E. Curran can be reached at [email protected]