UMN student named first recipient of the George Floyd Memorial Scholarship in Law

The George Floyd Memorial Scholarship, a scholarship offered to Black law students at the University, named the first-ever recipient since its founding a year ago.

Walter+F.+Mondale+Hall+on+Friday%2C+Sept.+10.+The+University+of+Minnesota%E2%80%99s+Law+School+announced+the+George+Floyd+Memorial+Scholarship+in+Law+in+July+2020.+The+first+recipient%2C+Brandon+Redmon%2C+received+the+scholarship+one+year+later+in+August+2021.

Ethan Fine

Walter F. Mondale Hall on Friday, Sept. 10. The University of Minnesota’s Law School announced the George Floyd Memorial Scholarship in Law in July 2020. The first recipient, Brandon Redmon, received the scholarship one year later in August 2021.

Bella Carpentier

This past summer, the first-ever George Floyd Memorial Scholarship in Law was awarded to Brandon Redmon, a student who is starting at the University of Minnesota’s law school this fall.

The purpose behind the scholarship is to ease the financial burden of tuition and inspire the next generation of law students. Redmon, this year’s recipient, had previously completed his bachelor’s in American Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.

He was inspired to become an attorney after being involved in a lawsuit against a former employer for wrongful termination on the basis of discrimination.

“[George Floyd’s] murder was so shocking and upsetting and we wanted to do something to, first of all, honor him and make sure his name was never forgotten,” said attorney and University alum Catlan McCurdy. “Secondly, to in some way, counterbalance the racial inequity in this country. My husband and I are both lawyers … so we thought this is one way we can try and create a greater impact in the legal community.”

The scholarship was created with a donation from McCurdy and her husband Sanjiv Laud which was later matched by the University’s Law School and went on to receive over 425 additions from outside donors.

“It’s special, we know that folks can come together for a common goal and this is just evidence to show that,” Redmon said.

Redmon is entering his first year as a law student this fall and as he begins his studies, he continues to reflect on what the scholarship means to him.

“This scholarship gives folks like myself an opportunity to fund a legal education to be the folks on the frontline … and [to] fight against racial and ethnic injustice,” Redmon said.

Being a father of four and being a truck driver before getting his bachelor’s, Redmon recognizes that himself and George Floyd share many similarities.

“I think I was selected for the scholarship largely in part that Mr. Floyd and I, we share a lot of similarities,” Redmon said. “Both were truck drivers … both are family men.”

After being named the scholarship’s recipient, Redmon said he developed a close friendship with the initial donors McCurdy and Laud.

“Meeting them, they were awesome. It felt like I was meeting old buddies, like people I haven’t seen in forever,” Redmon said.

McCurdy expressed a very similar sentiment when she described her first encounter with Redmon.

“I think he’s such a fantastic person. It was really fun to meet him as the first recipient,” McCurdy said. “I’m so excited for him and his future.”

With 425 donors and counting, the goal for McCurdy and Laud, along with the Law School is to continue offering this scholarship in future years to ease the financial burden for law students hoping to continue their studies at the University.

“Our hope is that the scholarship will make it possible to come study here [and] that it will ease some of their financial burdens so they can get the most out of their experience and get the preparation they need to achieve whatever it is they want to achieve,” said Garry Jenkins, dean of the Law School.

What started with a donation from two University alums after the tragic murder of George Floyd became a way for the University to offer support to the next generation of lawyers. “Taking something that was a tragedy and trying to make something positive out of it, we are really proud to help make that possible,” Jenkins said.

“I am very appreciative to everyone who donated ─ time, energy, money ─ everyone who gave gifts to help the cause,” Redmon said. “I am very appreciative of that and I am really enjoying my time at the law school right now.”