The President David C. Hardesty Public Service Fellowship was established at WVU Law by Ola Adekunle, a 2007 graduate and senior patent attorney for Google. The multinational technology company provided matching funds for the fellowship.
“President Hardesty epitomizes public service and he is one example of so many WVU alumni, leaders, teachers, and administrators who are passionate about helping WVU students fulfil their dreams,” Adekunle said. “This is my small way of giving back and encouraging WVU Law students to become leaders in the public service field.”
Hardesty served as the 21st President of WVU, from 1995-2007, and he was a member of the WVU Law faculty for two decades until his retirement in 2018. Adekunle developed a bond with the university leader as a WVU undergraduate.
“President Hardesty’s passion to see students succeed in life and their chosen career cannot be overstated, most notably while he was President of WVU. He took a particular interest in me — not only did he encourage me to attend law school, but he also created an opportunity for me to attend WVU College of Law by helping me find a graduate assistantship position,” Adekunle said.
Blake Jacobs and Sydney Pack.
Sydney Pack and Blake Jacobs are the inaugural recipients of the Hardesty Fellowship. They are each receiving $5,000 to cover expenses while they complete their summer law jobs.
Pack, a rising 3L, is working in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia in Charlottesville.
Jacobs is a rising 2L working as a law clerk for the Honorable Irene M. Keeley, Senior U.S. District Judge for the Northern District of West Virginia in Clarksburg.
“I am honored the College of Law sees promise in me in the public service field to choose me as one of the first Hardesty fellows,” said Pack, who is from Staunton, Virginia. “Being awarded the Hardesty Public Service Fellowship shows me the college recognizes my passion for public service and my abilities, and it wants to help me succeed.”
“It is a huge honor to be selected for the fellowship. It gave me a fantastic opportunity to relieve financial stress and still work in public service this summer,” said Jacobs, a native of Bakersfield, California.
The Hardesty Fellowship also awarded three partial stipends to rising third-year law students Emma Pearman, Devon Redding and Adam Wilson.
Pearman is working for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of West Virginia. Redding is working for Judge Keeley. Wilson is working for the Honorable Frank Volk, U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of West Virginia.
The gift to establish the President David J. Hardesty Public Service Fellowship was made through the WVU Foundation, the nonprofit organization that receives and administers private donations on behalf of West Virginia University. Adekunle serves on the Foundation's Board of Directors.
Meet the Students
Sydney Pack earned her bachelor’s degree in Administration of Justice from the University of Virginia’s College at Wise in 2015. Following that, she received a Paralegal Certificate from the University of Tennessee and worked as a paralegal at Wolfe, Williams, and Reynolds in Norton, Virginia.
Blake Jacobs has been a member of the West Virginia Army National Guard since 2018. He received an A.A. degree in Political Science from the Georgia Military College. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science in 2019 from West Virginia University.
To contribute to the President David C. Hardesty Public Service Fellowship, contact Jennie James, assistant dean for development, at 304-293-7367 or firstname.lastname@example.org