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Lafayette’s Association of Black Collegians (ABC) will hold its inaugural Student-Alumni Banquet at 5 p.m. Saturday, March 31, in the Bergethon Room, Marquis Hall.

  • The McDonogh Report celebrates the contributions of African Americans to the Lafayette community.

ABC will honor Lafayette alumni Roland M. Brown ’49 and Riley K. Temple ’71 and faculty member Rexford A. Ahene. The guest speaker will be Jeffrey D. Robinson ’80. Following the dinner program, participants will be invited to gather at the David A. Portlock Black Cultural Center.

Tickets are required for the event, which is co-sponsored by the Office of Alumni Affairs, and Office of Intercultural Development. For more information, contact Fred Brown, assistant director of development and college relations, (610) 330-5040.

Robinson, who is senior partner in the law firm of Baach Robinson & Lewis PLLC, Washington, D.C., will also speak at noon Friday, March 30, in the Interfaith Chapel, Hogg Hall. His topic will be “The Last ‘Election’ Of The Millennium: Voters, Lawyers, Pundits Or Judges — Who Chose The President?” Robinson was counsel for Vice President Al Gore in the litigation over the results of the 2000 presidential election in Florida. The talk, sponsored by the Office of the Chaplain and the Department of Government and Law, is free and open to the public.

At the banquet students will inaugurate the Roland M. Brown ’49 Award for Outstanding Service to the Community, to be presented to someone on campus who has significantly helped improve the quality of life for students of color.

Ahene, associate professor of economics and business and chair of Lafayette’s Africana Studies program, will be the first recipient of the award.

Temple will receive the David K. McDonogh Award for Outstanding Achievement. The prize is named for a former slave who earned a bachelor of arts degree from Lafayette in 1844.

Brown served in the Tuskegee Airmen, the elite unit of black servicemen, in World War II. After earning a degree in electrical engineering at Lafayette he had a distinguished career with the Defense Department and in the private sector before retiring in 1981. He was a member of Lafayette’s Board of Trustees from 1975 to 1990.

Ahene, a native of Ghana, has been a member of the Lafayette faculty since 1982. His primary research and consulting specialization is in land tenure and policy reform, international business strategy, and private investment, mostly in Sub-Saharan Africa. His background training includes particular interest in traditional land laws in Africa.

The Government of Malawi is adopting a land policy proposal submitted by Ahene in November. The Malawi proposal is the third land-policy proposal Ahene has participated in during his ten years as a land policy expert for the World Bank. He served as a member of a team that recommended a use strategy for land resources in Uganda and as principal land policy adviser to Tanzania as that country made the transition from socialism to a market-based economy.

Ahene is coauthor of Privatization and Investment in Sub-Sarahan Africa, published by Praeger in 1992. He holds a Ph.D. in economic development and a master of arts degree in agricultural economics from the University of Wisconsin, a master of arts degree in economics from Virginia State University, and a bachelor of science degree with honors in land economy and estate management from the University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana.

Temple, who is secretary of Lafayette’s Board of Trustees, is a partner in the law firm of Halprin, Temple, Goodman & Maher, Washington, D.C. Last fall Lafayette inaugurated the David L., Sr., and Helen J. Temple Visiting Lecture Series, established by Temple in honor of his father and mother, focusing on African Americans in the arts.

Robinson was the 1980 recipient of Lafayette’s George Wharton Pepper Prize, awarded annually to the senior who “most closely represents the Lafayette ideal.”

Prior to co-founding of Baach Robinson & Lewis, a 35-attorney law firm, he was deputy assistant attorney general, United States Department of Justice, during the first term of the Clinton Administration. While at the justice department, he played a significant role in the enactment of the 1994 Crime Bill and in other administration and department efforts. Robinson has also served as principal deputy corporation counsel for the District of Columbia and minority chief counsel of the United States Senate Constitution Subcommittee.

His current practice involves commercial and white-collar criminal litigation, and advocacy on behalf of government and private organizations as well as individuals involved in legislative, regulatory and criminal investigations.

He was one of the lead lawyers on the trial team that won a $1.2 billion judgment in a civil fraud and racketeering case on behalf of the liquidators of the failed Bank of Credit and Commerce (BCCI) and is counsel in significant civil rights litigation.

Robinson earned a J.D. degree from Yale Law School in 1983. He is an adjunct professor of law at the Georgetown University Law Center and co-chair of the Washington Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs.

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