MIAMI GARDENS, FLA. (WSVN) - A South Florida law school has undergone a historic name change, and a couple of famous faces were on hand to commemorate the occasion.
Attendees at Wednesday afternoon’s ceremony at St. Thomas University in Miami Gardens received an all-American welcome, as a trumpet player performed “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
After a prayer benediction, the university’s College of Law unveiled its new name: the Benjamin L. Crump College of Law.
“I want you all to know that I feel like I’m the most blessed man on the face of the Earth today,” said Crump.
The well-known civil rights attorney made the Time 100 list of most influential people of 2021.
Back in 2012, Crump represented Trayvon Martin’s family in the teen’s fatal shooting.
“I just came to salute him,” said Sybrina Fulton, Martin’s mother, “and let him know that I’m proud of him for the work that he not only did for the Trayvon Martin Foundation but that he did for so many other families. I’m very proud of him.”
Crump went on to represent the family of George Floyd, whose death propelled the Black Lives Matter movement.
“It’s very amazing. I knew it would come, but I didn’t know it would come this bad,” said Philonise Floyd, George’s brother. “It’s a blessing.”
Also in attendance at the unveiling ceremony was Amy Sutherland, the mother of Jamal Sutherland, who was killed in his jail cell at the Charleston County Detention Center in South Carolina in January 2021.
“You will see that my son did not deserve [to die like this], so Mr. Crump came and he stood by me, and I feel good,” she said. “I feel good to have him with me. I’m proud of him.”
It was a proud moment for proud Americans, even celebrities like Will Smith. The Oscar winner came on stage to personally congratulate Crump.
“Congratulations on this historic honor,” said Smith before the men embraced.
Smith went on to express his admiration for the honoree.
“There are very few people in the world with a heart like this,” he said.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava and other local leaders were also on hand. The county honored this day with a proclamation.
“Benjamin L. Crump has been referred to as Black America’s attorney general,” said Miami-Dade Commission Chair Oliver Gilbert III.
“For us to have America’s lawyer on the name of our St. Thomas University’s College of Law means so much to us,” said David Armstrong, the university’s president.
“Let’s use the law as an instrument for good, and never let it be used as a weapon for evil,” said Crump during his speech. “I welcome you to the Ben Crump College of Law at the St. Thomas University.”
University officials also announced they will be breaking ground on a brand-new Benjamin L. Crump College of Law Building. They did not specify a completion date.
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