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William M. McCulloch, ’25, and Robert Duncan, ’52, elected to inaugural Office of Diversity and Inclusion Hall of Fame class

June 24, 2021 | Alumni

In celebration of the 50th Anniversary of The Ohio State University Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI), ODI has selected 12 members of the Ohio State community as its inaugural inductees into the ODI Hall of Fame. Two of the 12 members, William M. McCulloch (1925) and Robert Duncan (1952) are alumni of the Moritz College of Law.

Born in 1903, McCulloch was a Republican Congressman from Piqua who played a pivotal role in passing key federal Civil Rights legislation in the 1960s. As a young white lawyer working in Jacksonville, Florida in the late 1920s, McCulloch was disgusted by the South’s Jim Crow laws that relegated Black people to second-class citizenship. Despite representing an Ohio district with few Black people, Congressman McCulloch was one of the lawmakers most responsible for passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and 1968 as well as the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Born in 1927, Duncan became the “Jackie Robinson of the Columbus judiciary” as he shattered racial barriers in legal circles seemingly with every career stop. In 1966, Duncan was the first Black elected as a judge in Franklin County and the first Black to serve on the Ohio Supreme Court as well as the U.S. District Court bench in Ohio. Known as a caring mentor to many young lawyers, Duncan also served as chief legal counsel and chairman of the Board of Trustees at his beloved Ohio State.