Karen Frankel Blum '67 will give Wells' 2012 Commencement Address

05-26-12 - Alumna, scholar, teacher, and expert on civil rights law will address this year's graduating class.

Wells College is proud to announce that  extraordinarily accomplished and often recognized Wells alumna Karen Frankel Blum '67 will give the Commencement address at the ceremony this spring. Ms. Blum received the 2010 Wells College Alumnae Award for her contributions to the field of law, especially for her work in the area of Section 1983 civil rights, and the College warmly welcomes her return to deliver the Commencement address for the class of 2012.


An outstanding scholar and teacher, for the past 20 years Karen Blum has been a nationally recognized authority on Section 1983 Civil Rights Litigation and Qualified Immunity for the Federal Judicial Center. Since 1974, she has also served on the faculty of Suffolk University Law School in Boston, Massachusetts, where she is currently an Associate Dean and Professor of Law, and teaches Civil Procedure, Federal Courts, Civil Rights and Police Misconduct Litigation.


Highly regarded for her unbiased view of civil rights law, Ms. Blum lectures to lawyers who defend civil rights cases as well as to plaintiffs' lawyers. She presents programs for the National Sheriffs' Association and for the Public Agency Training Council, bringing law enforcement agencies up to date on risks and problems of liability. She has been actively involved with the National Police Accountability Project (founded to help end police abuse of authority and provide education and training on police misconduct issues) and has served on its Advisory Board since its inception in 1999.


Much of Karen’s work today is to provide orientation and continuing education for federal judges for which, in 2000, she received the Judge John R. Brown Award for Judicial Scholarship and Education. She regularly leads and presents at Continuing Legal Education seminars and institutes around the country and was named the first Director of the Masterman Institute on the First Amendment and the Fourth Estate at Suffolk University Law School in 2008.


Ms. Blum is the author of numerous books and articles relating to Section 1983 issues. She is affiliated with many professional organizations, including the American Bar Association, Massachusetts Bar Association, Boston Bar Association, American Association for Justice, Association of American Law Schools, American Constitution Society, Legal Committee, ACLU MASS, National Police Accountability Project, National Lawyers' Guild and Women's Bar Association. She was recently re-appointed to the Massachusetts Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.


She has twice been awarded the Yvette C. Mendez Quality of Life Award by the Black Law Students Association at Suffolk. Ms. Blum has also been recognized by her peers and received the Charles P. Kindregan Award for Extraordinary Contributions to Advanced Legal Studies at Suffolk Law School in 2004. Most recently, Ms. Blum was recognized this past spring by the National Lawyers Guild for her work in civil rights law and police misconduct litigation.


Karen Blum came to Wells from New Haven, Conn. After majoring in philosophy at Wells College, she taught children with learning disabilities for five years. She and her husband, Jeffrey Blum, attended Suffolk University Law School, and she was the first evening student at Suffolk to be named an editor of the Law Review. When she received her J.D. from Suffolk in 1974, Ms. Blum was given the Outstanding Student Award for her class. She received an LL.M. from Harvard University Law School in 1976. 


With her commitment to lifelong learning and social justice, Ms. Blum exemplifies the thoughtful criteria provided by this year's senior class officers. A special thank you to the class of 2012 officers for their collaborative work to bring such a highly regarded alumna and speaker to share in this important College occasion.



For more information, contact the Wells College office of communications by emailing communications@wells.edu.