Alumna Vicki E. Allums Urges Berea Grads to “Do the Impossible”

Vicki E. Allums, a 1979 graduate, addressed 57 Berea College seniors who participated in the Recognition Ceremony for Mid-Year Graduates on Sunday, December 7. The event, held in Phelps Stokes Chapel, recognized students who are expected to complete degree requirements at the end of January 2015.

Alumna Vicki E. Allums

Alumna Vicki E. Allums

Allums, who is Associate General Counsel for Intellectual Property at the Defense Information Systems Agency, a component agency of the U.S. Department of Defense, related some of her experiences from when she was at student at Berea College. She encouraged the graduates to work hard, be life-long learners and do the impossible, pointing out that the word contains “I’m possible.”

Allums is a senior attorney with legal and policy experience in the government and non-profit sectors. Her areas of practice include domestic and international intellectual property, international trade, technology, e-commerce, information security and cyber law.

Frequently speaking at conferences around the world, Allums has represented the United States in bilateral and multilateral trade negotiations and at conferences and training programs in Asia, Europe, Africa and the Middle East. She provides legal advice on intellectual property matters to the Defense Technical Information Center. Her other government experience includes working as a senior attorney in the Office of Legislative and International Affairs at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and in the Intellectual Property Branch at U.S. Customs.

Allums’ private sector experience includes working as Associate General Counsel at the American Institute of Architects, a non-profit membership organization, and as Assistant General Counsel at National Public Radio. She is an adjunct professor at the John Marshall Law School in Chicago, where she co-teaches a Master class titled, “Globalization, Intellectual Property and the Internet.” She is co-author of “Customs Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights” published by Thomson Reuters (West Law).

Grads singing alma mater

Berea graduates singing “Berea Beloved,” the college alma mater, at the conclusion of the Mid-Year Recognition Ceremony.

Allums earned her Masters of Public Affairs degree from Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs (IU SPEA), where she participated in a Graduate Public Policy program with the Ecole Nationale d’Administration and the Institu International d’Administration Publique in Paris, France. She earned her law degree from the University of Kentucky and her Bachelor’s in history from Berea College. A member of the bar in the District of Columbia and Kentucky, Allums is admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court, the United Stated Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, and the United States Court of International Trade.

Allums recently completed an 8-year term as an Alumni Trustee on the Berea College Board of Trustees. Currently she is a member of IU SPEA’s Distinguished Alumni Council and the Alumni Advisory Board for the Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars (TWC), where she participated in an academic seminar on foreign policy in Washington, D.C., as a Berea College student.

Berea College, the first interracial and coeducational college in the South, focuses on learning, labor and service. The College admits only academically promising students with limited financial resources, primarily from Kentucky and Appalachia, although students come from 40 states and 70 countries. Every Berea student receives a Tuition Promise Scholarship, which means no Berea student pays for tuition. Berea is one of nine federally-recognized Work Colleges, so students work 10 hours or more weekly, earning money for books, housing and meals. The College’s motto, “God has made of one blood all peoples of the earth,” speaks to its inclusive Christian character.