Former death row inmate establishes scholarship in honor of UT law alumna

Anna Daugherty

In honor of an attorney who helped exonerate him, former death row inmate Anthony Graves established a scholarship earlier this month in the UT School of Law named for Nicole Casarez.

Casarez is a UT alumna, an attorney and a journalism professor at the University of St. Thomas in Houston. Her work, along with the work of her team of investigative journalism students, led to a reversal of the charges against Graves in 2010.

Graves created the “Nicole B. Casarez Endowed Scholarship in Law” at UT as a way to thank her. Casarez and her husband Reuben Casarez both graduated from UT in 1979.

“Anthony Graves worked with Nicole’s husband to keep the scholarship private,” said Samantha Youngblood, communications coordinator at the law school. “He wanted to surprise her.”

Youngblood said Graves held a dinner party earlier this month where he announced the scholarship to Casarez.

“We wanted to keep it a secret until Nicole found out about it as well,” Youngblood said. “So we didn’t distribute a news release about it or anything like that.”

The details of the scholarship have not been decided as of yet. The first scholarship from the fund will be awarded in fall 2014 to a “deserving law student.” It will most likely be an annual scholarship, according to Youngblood.

“Our development team is working on the specifics,” Youngblood said. “And, of course, we’re incredibly grateful for his generosity.”