Lonnie Harvey: Humbled, honored, and heartbroken
Lonnie Harvey can probably count on one hand the number of days he has not thought about Kat Westbrook.
Westbrook was a 2L when she passed away in 2022, but her life and legacy lives on through Charleston Law students, especially Harvey.
Harvey made school history last spring when he was named the first-ever recipient of the Kat Westbrook Rock Star Award, an honor that was established to recognize a Charleston School of Law student who has “demonstrated leadership within the Charleston School of Law to promote collegiality, professionalism, diversity, inclusiveness, and equality.”
“I’ve thought a lot about Kat since winning the award,” said Harvey. “It is such a huge honor that I am still shocked by it. To think that anyone feels that I’ve made a similar impact as Kat Westbrook is very special to me.”
When he speaks about Westbrook, Harvey pauses to collect his thoughts. His eyes get soft, and his voice turns to a whisper.
“I’ve had former executive board members of Phi Alpha Delta that have texted me to tell me that Kat would have wanted me to have this award,” said Harvey. “Those messages and the interactions with her parents have been the most rewarding takeaway from winning the award.”
Harvey, a Florida native, is beginning his 3L year at Charleston School of Law. He is very active in the law school community, both on campus and in Charleston, serving in Alliance for Equality (AFE), Phi Alpha Delta (PAD) as Haynesworth Chapter President, and as a law clerk at LaFond Law Group.
The space between
It is a typical Wednesday afternoon at Charleston School of Law. Faculty, students and staff have settled into the busyness of the fall semester. The halls are buzzing, the classrooms are overflowing and the grind of the day inches ahead. It’s in these moments—the space between—that a legacy is tested.
Life is short, and idling is wasted time. So, instead of waiting for the next scheduled event on the campus calendar to recognize Westbrook’s contribution, Lonnie Harvey tries to honor her daily by doing his best to exemplify the words used to describe Westbrook on awards day:
“A brilliant mind, fiercely loyal, dependable, persistent, and passionate about advocating for all members of the Charleston Law community.”
“I try to actively and intentionally honor her life and legacy,” said Harvey. “As a 2L that was burned out when I received the award — and a 3L that is still burned out — Kat’s life and spirit have played significant roles in helping keep me motivated.”
Westbrook, an active in member on campus, served people, made friends, and promoted community. Harvey said believes she would expect that we would do the same.
The recipient of the award receives a $2,500 scholarship granted by the Charleston School of Law Foundation through the generosity of the Adele A. and Harold J. Westbrook Foundation. All submissions will be reviewed by the Foundation and announced in coordination with the Charleston School of Law and the winner will be announced during Awards Day in April.