The 2023 Honoree
Loretta E. Lynch
Loretta Lynch served as the 83rd U.S. attorney general from 2015 through 2017—only the second woman, and the first Black woman to hold that office. During her tenure, she worked to ensure equal protection of the law, notably in defense of LGBT equality in the Supreme Court case Obergefell v. Hodges, which made same-sex marriages legal in all 50 states. She vigorously defended the Voting Rights Act, challenged discrimination against transgender people, and worked to reform law enforcement practices and police training.
At a young age, Lynch, the daughter of a librarian and a Baptist minister, became inspired by students who planned anti-segregation boycotts at her father’s church and by listening to stories of her grandfather’s heroism in helping Black families to relocate away from locations where Jim Crow was the norm in the 1930s.
Lynch is a partner in the Paul, Weiss Litigation Department where she advises clients on government and internal investigations and on high-stakes litigation and regulatory matters. She has been named one of Benchmark Litigation’s “Top 250 Women in Litigation.” Lynch received her J.D. from Harvard Law School and her A.B. in American Literature from Harvard University.
The 2022 honoree
Freeman A. Hrabowski III
The lecture’s first honoree, Freeman A. Hrabowski III, is celebrated for his leadership in developing a national educational model for students from diverse backgrounds to excel in science, technology, engineering, and math.
The Office of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging is now accepting nominations. All members of the Harvard community are invited to submit a nominee for the 2024 lecture. Nominees do not need to be a member of the Harvard community; individuals from a range of disciplines and backgrounds are welcome. Nominees should embody the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision of civic leadership.