Hamilton College President David Wippman announced the death of Life Trustee Drew Days ’63 in an email to the Hamilton community on Nov. 16.
Dear Members of the Hamilton Community,
I am writing with the sad news that Life Trustee Drew Days ’63 died Sunday at the age of 79. Drew was one of Hamilton’s most accomplished public servants. He was a prominent civil rights attorney who became U.S. solicitor general in the Clinton Administration and is one of the alumni for whom the Days-Massolo Center is named.
Drew graduated from Hamilton in 1963 with a major in English literature. He earned his law degree from Yale and was admitted to the bar in 1966. After working briefly at a union-side labor law firm in Chicago, he joined the Peace Corps and served for two years in Honduras with his wife, Ann Langdon. They were married for nearly 54 years.
After returning to the U.S. in 1969, Drew joined the legal staff of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, working on civil rights cases, including a lawsuit that desegregated the Tampa schools he attended as a child. In 1977, he was appointed U.S. assistant attorney general for civil rights by President Jimmy Carter, serving through 1980. A member of the faculty at the Yale Law School beginning in 1981, he was named Alfred M. Rankin Professor of Law in 1991 and from 1993 to 1996 he took a leave of absence to serve in the Justice Department as U.S. solicitor general. Drew joined the Hamilton Board of Trustees in 1986.
In his 50th Reunion Yearbook in 2013, Drew wrote “Hamilton’s rigorous public speaking and writing requirements have stood me in good stead at every stage of my professional career. I also believe the College’s liberal arts curriculum prepared me to respond with confidence to changing economic, political and social conditions.”
Drew was a kind, generous, and warm man who cared deeply for Hamilton. It is fitting that the Days-Massolo Center was named in his honor 10 years ago.
- The New York Times Obituary: Drew Days, First Black Head of Civil Rights Unit, Dies at 79
- Read the obituary published by Yale Law School
- Washington Post obituary: Drew S. Days III dies; first Black chief of civil rights division
- Story Corps interview with Drew Days and his daughter Elizabeth