The Farris-Cisneros Scholarship committee was created in 1998 by the Travis County Women Lawyers’ Association in reaction to the Hopwood court decision. Founders of the scholarship believe that, if lawyers are to maintain credibility within an increasingly diverse society, we must ensure a diverse bar. The scholarship is named after Charlye Farris, the first African-American woman admitted to the Texas bar, and Edna Cisneros, the first Hispanic woman admitted to the Texas bar. Charlye Farris graduated from Howard University in Washington, D.C. in 1953; she was the first woman of any race to actively practice law in Wichita County, Texas. She practiced law there for over 40 years, was elected to the district bench there, and served on the Board of Regents of that city’s Midwestern State University. In 2004, she received the Texas Bar Foundation’s Outstanding Fifty-year Lawyer Award. Charlye died on February 18, 2010; more information about her amazing life appears in the April 2010 Travis County Women Lawyers Association newsletter. Edna Cisneros became one of the first women to pass the Texas Bar Exam – in 1955 — and was the first woman ever elected District Attorney in Texas.
The Farris-Cisneros Scholarship is awarded annually to a minority woman attending the UT School of Law. The scholarship committee considers financial need, history of community involvement, and future intentions of the scholarship applicants.
The scholarship is posted in the U.T. Law School financial aid office in the fall of each year, and awarded at the TCWLA Judicial Reception the following February.