Two Former Cal Student-Athletes Earn Alumni Awards

March 31, 2008

BERKELEY - A pair of former Golden Bear student-athletes will be honored by the California Alumni Association on April 5th in San Francisco. Thelton E. Henderson '55, J.D. '62, will be recognized as Cal's Alumnus of the Year, while Anthony Smith '92, M.A. '93, Ph.D '02, has been selected for the Mark Bingham Award for Excellence in Achievement by a Young Alumnus.

Judge Henderson, who lettered in baseball for two years with the Golden Bears, has ruled on numerous controversial and high-profile cases, on behalf of prisoners' rights to humane treatment, on behalf of dolphins threatened by tuna nets, on behalf of Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange, on behalf of gays subjected to added security scrutiny in the tech industry, and on behalf of women in a landmark discrimination suit against State Farm Insurance.

Born in Shreveport, Louisiana, in 1933, Henderson was raised in Los Angeles. He earned a bachelor's degree in political science from Cal in 1955, and, in 1962, Henderson received a law degree from Boalt Hall and joined the Justice Department as the first African-American lawyer in its civil rights division. Working with his mentor and fellow Cal grad, John Doar, Henderson traveled often to the South to monitor law enforcement on civil rights cases. There, he investigated the famous case of the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., which killed four young girls. He also experienced firsthand the South's fierce racist opposition to civil rights for blacks.

Smith, a four-year letterman for the Golden Bear football team (1986-89), is a rising star in the Bay Area's education community. He recently joined the San Francisco Unified School District as deputy superintendent for instruction, innovation, and social justice. Before that, Smith was superintendent of Emery Unified School District, where he was widely credited with a dramatic turnaround in academic performance.

Smith was a standout offensive lineman for the Bears and served as a team captain in 1989. A product of Placerville, Calif., he has a B.A. in English and an M.A. and Ph.D. in education from Cal. He advises faculty and staff at the Graduate School of Education on teacher and principal development.

The black-tie optional event will be held at the Fort Mason Center in San Francisco on Saturday, April 5th. For further information, call (510) 643-5658 or Click Here.

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