Howard University School of Law’s Lisa Crooms-Robinson Named Harvard Radcliffe Institute Fellow

Washington, D.C. – Lisa A. Crooms-Robinson (B.A. ’84), a longtime faculty member within the Howard University School of Law, has been named a Harvard Radcliffe Institute Fellow for the 2024-2025 academic year. As part of the program, Crooms-Robinson, who currently serves as interim dean at the University’s law school, will study in Cambridge, Mass., focusing on the Pauli Murray (J.D. ’44) archives housed at the Arthur & Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America.  

“As a legal scholar, I am immensely grateful for the opportunity to immerse myself in research about the multifaceted and impactful life of Pauli Murray,” said Crooms-Robinson, whose term as interim dean ends on June 30. “The fact that she is not just a legal legend, but a legend who is an alumna of the Howard University School of Law, makes this a project that I am even more excited to take on. 

The fellowship is an exclusive opportunity to learn more about and raise awareness of Murray, who graduated first in her class at Howard University’s School of Law and was the only woman in the class. Murray would go on to become the first African American to earn a J.S.D. from Yale Law School, a co-founder of the National Organization for Women (NOW) and, in 1977, become the first African American woman to be ordained as an Episcopal priest. 

Crooms-Robinson, who earned her J.D. from the University of Michigan in 1991 before becoming a professor at the University’s School of Law, has spent years studying Murray’s impactful career. Her research project will trace the evolution of Murray’s gospel of social justice from jurisprudence to legal theology. Crooms-Robinson views the fellowship as an opportunity to dive deeper into Murray’s advocacy in the areas of feminism and human rights.  

“I am thrilled to join such an illustrious community of scholars, artists, and practitioners as we delve into our own projects and engage in the cross-fertilization spurred by interdisciplinary connection and collaboration,” she said. 

Crooms-Robinson’s appointment as the 2024-2025 Marilyn Beaudry-Corbett Schlesinger Fellow is yet another reminder of the caliber of faculty “committed to educating future leaders here,” said Howard University President Ben Vinson III, Ph.D. 

“Dean Crooms-Robinson’s selection as a Harvard Radcliffe Institute Fellow speaks volumes about the quality of faculty providing instruction to our students, but also demonstrates how the accomplishments of our alumni can move future generations to continue carrying out their work,” President Vinson said. “Even as a professor, Dean Crooms-Robinson has been a student herself studying the works of Pauli Murray, and I am excited to see how this fellowship will allow her to support and empower future classes of law school students here.” 

A year-long Radcliffe fellowship provides the rare opportunity to pursue ambitious projects in the Institute’s unique environment. Each fellowship class is drawn from some of the most thoughtful and exciting contemporary scholars in the humanities, sciences, social sciences, and arts—along with writers, journalists, playwrights, and other distinguished professionals. For this year’s historic 25th anniversary class, Radcliffe accepted just 3.3% of applicants.  

This year’s Radcliffe fellows will be part of a unique, interdisciplinary, and creative community that will step away from routines to tackle longtime projects they wish to complete. Throughout the academic year, fellows convene regularly to share their work in progress with the community and public. With access to Harvard’s unparalleled resources, Radcliffe fellows develop new tools and methods, challenge artistic and scholarly conventions, and illuminate the past, present, and future.