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MORGANTOWN, WV -

Franklin D. Cleckley, the Arthur B. Hodges Professor of Law at West Virginia University's College of Law since 1969, has been honored with the 2013 Neil S. Bucklew Award for Social Justice in recognition of his lifetime achievement.

The 72-year-old Cleckley, who is retiring at the end of this semester, was recognized April 11 during the Evening of Honors for faculty and staff at Blaney House.

The award is given each year by the school's Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and the Social Justice Council.

Cleckley, WVU's first African-American full professor, has served on the College of Law faculty for 44 years. He also briefly served on the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, becoming the first African-American justice in West Virginia.
Then-Gov. Gaston Caperton in 1994 appointed him to an unexpired term. He declined to run for reelection in 1996 and returned to WVU.

 In 1990, he began the Franklin D. Cleckley Foundation, a nonprofit designed to help former convicts receive an education and find jobs. 

The Huntington native earned his bachelor's degree in 1962 from Anderson College in Indiana and then his law degree from Indiana University in 1965. He joined the Navy as a Judge Advocate General officer during the Vietnam War. 

Cleckley then earned his masters of law degree from Harvard University and attended Exeter University in England for additional post-graduate studies.
He is the author of "Evidence Handbook for West Virginia Lawyers" and "West Virginia Criminal Procedure Handbook."

Cleckley's other awards include the West Virginia Human Rights Commission Civil Rights Award, the Thurgood Marshall Award from the West Virginia NAACP and the Civil Libertarian of the Year Award from the West Virginia Civil Liberties Union.

The award comes with a $2,500 stipend that may be used for professional development or directed to one of the West Virginia University Foundation accounts on the winner's behalf.