Richard B. Atkinson LGBTQ Law & Policy Program
The Richard B. Atkinson LGBTQ Law and Policy Program at the University of Arkansas School of Law enables faculty and students to affect the quality of public discourse associated with the complex issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity law and policy. The program supports a variety of activities including research, service, teaching, speakers and scholarships designed to educate and affect LGBTQ law and policy.
Atkinson LGBTQ Law and Policy Colloquium
The Atkinson LGBTQ Law and Policy Colloquium will host an annual series of prominent speakers who are working on a diverse range of LGBTQ law and policy topics of interest to the Arkansas community. The colloquium will provide a forum for scholars to present cutting-edge research and engage with both law and non-law students who enroll in the colloquium at the University of Arkansas.
The colloquium will fund a student research assistant for the academic year who will assist the faculty director on LGBTQ-related research and help to support broader LGBTQ inclusion goals at the law school and campus community.
Dean Richard B. Atkinson
Richard B. Atkinson was the 10th dean of the University of Arkansas School of Law, and served from Jan. 6, 2003 until his unexpected death while attending the American Bar Association annual meeting in August of 2005. While on faculty, Atkinson was one of two faculty members selected by the graduating class to participate in the hooding ceremony at commencement virtually every year since the tradition began in the early 1990s.
Atkinson is repeatedly described as a kind, quiet and strong leader and processor, which could be partially due to his training. After receiving a Master of Divinity from Yale University, he stayed for a Juris Doctor. He was admitted to practice in Georgia, became an associate with the law firm of King and Spalding in Atlanta before former President Bill Clinton, a friend from law school, convinced him to move to Fayetteville. A tribute to his legacy and the Richard B. Atkinson Law and Sexuality gift from Michael Hollomon and Eric Wailes, which launched the program, gives an accurate picture, but reading the comments from his former students at the end of the article shows the depth of his impact.