Marian Wright Edelman

Honorary Degree Recipient 2001

Marian Wright Edelman is renowned activist, founder, and president of the Children’s Defense Fund (founded in 1973). Edelman has been a life-long advocate for disadvantaged individuals, children, and families. She began her career mid-1960s as the first black woman admitted through the Mississippi Bar. Edelman also directed the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and has received over 100 honorary degrees and honors from universities and foundations worldwide, including the Heinz Award, MacArthur Foundation Prize Fellowship, and United States Presidential Medal of Freedom. Edelman worked on racial justice issues and was deeply involved in the civil rights movement as a lawyer and activist.