Kellis Parker (1942–2000)
First African-American Law Professor
Kellis Parker was a true renaissance man. A gifted jazz musician and storyteller, Kellis Parker was the first African-American to serve as a tenured law professor at the law school. A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which he helped to integrate, and the Howard Law School, from which he graduated at the top of his class, Kellis came to Columbia in 1973. For nearly thirty years until his untimely death, he brought warmth, grace and yes even humor to a profession reknown for its stern task masters. He was an inspiration to all of his students and his door was open to all who entered. He brought a sense of humanity to the teaching of the law for which all who knew him will forever be grateful.
Submitted by Rudy Carmenaty, Law 1990, who is solely responsible for the content.