GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Three distinguished graduates of the University of Florida Levin College of Law, Lucius Durham Battle, Rebecca Bowles Hawkins and Gerald A. Williams, will be inducted posthumously Friday into the Heritage of Leadership Society. The ceremony is 3:30 p.m. in the Hilton University of Florida Conference Center, 1714 SW 34th St.
The event is closed to the public, but media are invited to cover the ceremony.
Battle, Hawkins’ and Williams’ images, along with their most significant accomplishments, are etched into glass on the second floor of Holland Hall on the law school campus as a permanent tribute to their contributions to the nation, the state and the university. An electronic display accompanies the etchings.
Battle, 1918-2008, was a 1946 graduate of UF Law. The Dawson, Ga., native reorganized State Department operations in the 1960s and was chosen by President Lyndon B. Johnson as ambassador to Egypt and as assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs.
Hawkins, 1910-2000, graduated in 1935 and continued to blaze paths for women as the first assistant attorney general of Florida in 1948. The native of Big Sandy, Tenn., served as the long-time chief of the Attorney General Office’s Opinions Division. She served as president of the Florida and National Association of Women Lawyers.
Williams, 1950-2010, was a 1975 graduate born in Pensacola. He was a labor lawyer and counsel for major South Florida school districts, including Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties. He was among the first African-American graduates of UF Law and in 1992 became a managing partner of Atlanta-based Mack, Williams, Haygood & McLean, one of the largest African-American-controlled firms in the country.
Battle, Hawkins and Williams join 29 others in the Heritage of Leadership Recognition Society, representing illustrious personalities in the history of the University of Florida College of Law since it was founded in 1909. Members are pre-eminent graduates and others who have been involved in the college in very significant ways. They assumed national leadership positions and distinguished themselves in legal, governmental, academic and corporate sectors. They labored to improve the administration of justice and received the highest commendations for contributions to the profession and service to education, civic, charitable and cultural causes.
Members of the Heritage of Leadership Recognition Society are selected by the Heritage of Leadership Committee, which presents the slate for discussion and approval to the full membership of the University of Florida Law Center Association, Inc. Board of Trustees.