According to information from the law school, Davenport earned a law degree in 1966 and finished as one of the top students in his class. He was also a Georgia Law Review founding member and served on its editorial board.
“It is with great pleasure that I share the news of the naming of the law school’s rotunda after one of our law school’s seminal figures,” said School of Law Dean Peter B. “Bo” Rutledge, in a statement. “I am grateful for the support of UGA President Jere W. Morehead for this effort and the University Cabinet for its approval of the law school’s request. As I have said before, Chester was a trailblazer who achieved much in his lifetime, including the diversification of our law school and the legal profession.”
In addition to the rotunda renaming and the pending portrait, Davenport was memorialized with the creation of the Chester C. Davenport Memorial Endowment and was also given a posthumous Alumni Merit Award by the UGA Alumni Association, which is the association’s oldest honor. “It is hoped that this permanent and prominent naming displayed at the main entrance to our school will inspire those who study here to carry on Davenport’s legacy of service to state and society,” Rutledge said.
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The endowment fund was set up as a way to encapsulate Davenport’s legacy, according to the law school, and it is aimed at lifting up students who graduated from “Georgia-based historically Black colleges and universities.”
Davenport, who graduated from Morehouse College and was himself a Georgia native, enjoyed a long and distinguished career that included work in the U.S. Department of Justice and as a legislative assistant for Sen. Alan Cranston. Cranston, a Democratic senator from California, served from 1969 to 1993, according to information from Congress. He went on to unsuccessfully run for president in 1984.
“Following a position on President Jimmy Carter’s transition team and an appointment as assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Transportation, Davenport co-founded a law practice based in Washington, D.C,” according to the laws school. “He later started a private equity firm.”
Among Davenport’s many accolades include delivering his alma mater’s 97th Sibley Lecture, and attending its 50th anniversary commemoration of the Brown v. Topeka Board of Education case. “The UGA chapter of the Black Law Students Association bears his name and, in 2016, he received the law school alumni association’s highest honor, the Distinguished Service Scroll Award,” according to the announcement.