BENJAMIN WILSON, as a highly accomplished attorney in the field of environmental law, your exceptional track record as a litigator and an executive is matched only by your dedication to diversifying the legal profession and creating an equitable and inclusive community for all.
You grew up in a segregated Mississippi to parents who believed firmly in the power of education. After a transformative prep school experience, you made your way to Dartmouth, where you excelled as a student-athlete, graduating magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a history degree in 1973.
Seeking to emulate prominent civil rights attorneys like Wiley Branton, A.P. Tureaud, and Constance Baker Motley, you went on to Harvard Law School, earning your J.D. with honors in 1976. Immediately thereafter, you joined the prestigious law firm of King & Spaulding and, following a stint with the U.S. Department of Justice, became the first Black partner at Beveridge & Diamond in 1986. For the next 35 years, you practiced the law that you love at the prominent D.C. firm while nurturing the development of others, rising to the role of chairman in 2017.
You played a leading role in the Duke Energy coal ash spill remediation project and the Volkswagen AG emissions proceedings, though your legacy as a leader extends far beyond these landmark cases.
You’ve generously lent your time and talent in service to others, including to Dartmouth, through exemplary Board and volunteer service. The Diverse Partners Network you founded in 2008 to assist minority lawyers in overcoming challenges they would experience in the legal profession is now 6,000 strong. And your dedication to teaching at Howard University School of Law, even after your retirement, is a testament to your desire to inspire young lawyers of color to pursue excellence in their fields.
For your outstanding contributions to the practice of environmental and natural resources law, your leadership and mentorship of students and colleagues throughout your distinguished career, and your advocacy for equity and equality in your own field and beyond, Dartmouth is proud to award you the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.