The Duke School of Law will use the
gift to support its Center on Law, Ethics and National Security (LENS) and other future
projects. Exact distribution of the funds has yet to be determined.
"Carolina is fortunate to count the Everetts as friends and family.
Kathrine Everett was a remarkable Tar Heel, and her son, Robinson, has distinguished
himself as a jurist, scholar and practitioner," said William O. McCoy, acting
chancellor of UNC-CH at the time of the announcement. "Mrs. Everett's bequest will
improve the educational experiences and opportunities of Carolina law students and faculty
for many years to come."
"With this very generous gift, the Everett family continues its
remarkable record of service and leadership to the legal communities of North Carolina and
the nation and to the citizens of our state and country," said Duke President Nannerl
O. Keohane. "UNC law school alumna Kathrine Robinson Everett and her son, Robinson O.
Everett, long a member of the Duke School of Law faculty, have once again provided
leadership that strengthens both institutions, and we are most grateful."
Kathrine Everett, who died in 1992 at the age of 98, was a respected
North Carolina lawyer whose career spanned seven decades. She was one of the first women
to graduate from the University of North Carolina law school, where she ranked at the head
of her class, and the first woman to argue and win a case before the North Carolina
Supreme Court. She earned the top score on the state bar exam in 1920.
In 1951, she became one of the first two women elected to the Durham
City Council, serving there for 20 years. Later in her life, Kathrine Everett established
UHF television stations in Durham, Greensboro, Wilmington and Fayetteville.
Her husband, Reuben Oscar Everett, was one of the first five law
students at Duke. Their son and only child, Robinson O. Everett, graduated magna cum laude
from Harvard Law School in 1950 and joined the Duke law faculty that same year at age 22,
the youngest faculty member in Duke's history. He earned a master of laws degree from Duke
in 1954. Also in 1954, the Everetts were the first family of lawyers sworn in together to
the Bar of the United States Supreme Court.
Robinson Everett served in the Korean War in the Judge Advocate
General's Department and afterward as a commissioner of the U.S. Court of Military
Appeals. He remained in the Air Force Reserve until he retired as colonel in 1978. In
1980, President Carter appointed him chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the
Armed Forces. Everett founded Duke law school's LENS Center in 1993. The center is
dedicated to the teaching and study of national security law and advising of policy makers
on critical national security issues.
"I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to participate
in carrying out my mother's dream of helping the two law schools to which she was so
devoted," Robinson Everett said of the gift.
Judith Wegner, former dean of the UNC-CH School of Law, said
"Kathrine Everett lived her life in a remarkably vigorous and inspiring fashion,
drawing on the strengths of her own family and upbringing, and sharing that legacy with
all who knew her. Her presence, warmth and energy were inspiring, and during her
rendezvous with history, she broke barriers that had long kept women from the legal
profession. She was a forerunner, pathfinder and heroine to me and many others, someone
whose inspiration will live long beyond her death.
"This is an extraordinary gift that keeps on giving. The
Everett funds will assist students and help the School of Law in ways that were close to
Kathrine's heart. It is wonderful to know that the wise investments made by Robinson and
Kathrine will provide such a substantial boost to law school programs at Kathrine's alma
mater, and to legal education in North Carolina, for years to come."
by Mirinda Kossoff