Spirit of Maryville 2019: Daniel Abebe, '97

Daniel Abebe
How does a kid with a 2.8 high school GPA wind up at Harvard Law School? The road begins at Maryville, according to Daniel Abebe, PhD, JD, now vice provost at the University of Chicago Law School. Abebe chose Maryville at the urging of his parents, along with a family friend—Maryville’s then-president Keith Lovin, PhD.

Lovin kept a watchful eye on him, as did another family friend, Margie Wade, PhD, who was dean of Admissions & Enrollment. Abebe also credits the support of two iconic Maryville professors and mentors: the late Marshall King, PhD, and the late Radko Jansky, JD, along with Residence Hall Director, James Ingram. As the only African American in his class, Abebe leaned on this support while involving himself in activities across campus: working as a resident adviser, playing soccer, serving on student government and more.

Graduating summa cum laude, with the honor of speaking at Commencement, a more seasoned and mature Abebe was on his way to Harvard for his law degree, and eventually to the University of Chicago for a master’s and PhD in political science. Now, he is helping that institution’s law school shape its programming and strategic planning. Looking back warmly at his Maryville experience, and the relationships that helped bring him where he is today, he notes the well-worn adage, “It takes a village.”