Dillard University, in New Orleans, will be dedicating one of its campus buildings to alumnus Michael D. Jones, a civil rights advocate who has broken color barriers as a lawyer, and his wife Shaun. The university’s International Center for Economic Freedom will soon be called the Michael & Shaun Jones Hall (Jones Hall).
Jones first made history by becoming the first Black partner of the global law firm, Kirkland & Ellis LLP, based in Chicago, and later by partnering with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law to represent Maryland’s four historically Black universities in a lawsuit against the state. The HBCUs sued Maryland for not providing enough funding, duplicating their academic programs at nearby predominantly white universities and for continuing segregationist practices and policies. The lawsuit, which Jones worked pro bono for over a decade, eventually resulted in a $577 million settlement with the state.
On Dillard’s Board of Trustees since 2006, Jones has been serving as chairman since 2014. Additionally, he and his wife have established the Michael & Shaun Jones Endowed Scholarship at Dillard, which provides scholarships to two students annually.