When a prominent Westporter dies, it’s not unusual for the family to set up a scholarship in his or her name.
What is unusual — at least in Westport — is for that scholarship to be at a place like Howard University of School of Law.
But that’s exactly where the Michael Koskoff Scholarship has been established.
And it’s exactly in keeping with the way the nationally known, socially conscious Westport lawyer lived his life. Koskoff died in April, age 77.
As his children Josh, Sarah, Julie and Jake write:
As you know, our father had a lifelong commitment to civil rights. He represented members of the Black Panthers, he helped integrate the police and fire departments in Connecticut. He idolized Thurgood Marshall so much he wrote a movie about him.
One of our father’s final cases took on Harvard University. He spoke of their $40 billion endowment with disdain. Harvard, he believed, denied its racist past and used its great wealth to cherry-pick the best students, remove them from their communities, and indoctrinate them in a culture that served Harvard’s own interests.
A scholarship for Howard Law students, in contrast, will represent who our father has always been: unpretentious, egalitarian, unintimidated by powerful institutions, and a passionate believer that character determines success, not pedigree.
The people at Howard asked us: Do we want a minimum GPA required to receive the scholarship? We said, “Absolutely not!” Our father didn’t believe in limiting opportunity to those who are already on the path to success. He believed that what makes a great advocate isn’t good grades or high test scores — it’s a boldness to take on the powerful on behalf of the vulnerable, armed with the tools that the constitution provides.
Please consider giving to this scholarship — it will carry his name for generations, providing opportunities to future lawyers who will fight for civil rights, criminal justice, equal opportunity, environmental protection, public health and safety, and all else that we, as a society on the brink, depend on great legal advocates to achieve.
The endowment goal is $1 million. Click here to donate online. Checks can be made out to “Howard University School of Law,” with “Michael Koskoff Scholarship” written in the memo line, and sent to: Howard University, Box 417853, Boston, MA 02241-7853.