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Last modified: Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Indiana chief justice to address IU's winter commencement

Dec. 7, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Randall T. Shepard, chief justice of the Indiana Supreme Court, will address graduates at Indiana University's 2011 Winter Commencement on Dec. 17.

Shepard is the longest-serving chief justice in the history of Indiana. Upon assuming his current position in 1987 at age 40, he was the youngest chief justice in the United States.

Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard

Randall T. Shepard

"Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard exemplifies the very best Hoosier values," said IU President Michael A. McRobbie. "A seventh-generation Hoosier, and the longest-serving chief justice in the history of Indiana, Judge Shepard has dedicated himself to public service not only at the state and federal levels but within classrooms here in Indiana and across the country, where he demonstrates his commitment to legal education. His achievements as a scholar, a lifelong advocate for civility and professionalism in the legal community and a jurist of the highest order make him an inspiration not only to our graduating class but to the people of Indiana, whom he serves."

McRobbie will preside over the commencement ceremony, in which 1,983 students are eligible to participate. This number includes undergraduates as well as graduate students whose degrees were awarded during September and October, and those who are candidates for November and December degrees.

The ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. at Assembly Hall, 1001 E. 17th St. in Bloomington. The procession of students into Assembly Hall will begin at 9 a.m. Tickets are not required for the ceremony, which is expected to last about 90 minutes.

McRobbie will deliver a charge to the class, and then he will confer degrees with assistance from IU Bloomington Provost Karen Hanson and the deans of the individual schools.

Chief Justice Shepard is a graduate of Princeton University and Yale Law School and earned a Master of Laws in the Judicial Process from the University of Virginia.

He began his judicial career in 1980 as a judge of the Vanderburgh Superior Court in his hometown of Evansville, Ind. Previously, he was executive assistant to Evansville Mayor Russell Lloyd and special assistant to the undersecretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation. He served for 18 months as an associate justice in the Indiana Supreme Court before being elected chief justice.

The author of more than 890 majority opinions and publisher of more than 65 law review articles in 30 different journals, Shepard teaches periodically at the newly named IU McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis, as well as at the law schools of New York University and Yale University.

Shepard has received numerous awards for his efforts behind the bench and his work promoting professionalism, ethical standards and diversity in the legal profession. For his dedication to exposing nontraditional and underrepresented students to the study of law, Shepard received the Mark of Distinction Award from the National Association for Law Placement and the Lifetime Achievement Award from Indiana Black Expo. The National Association of Women Judges honored Shepard with the Norma Wickler Excellence in Service Award, and his many awards for professionalism advocacy include the American Inns of Court Professionalism Award for the Seventh Circuit.

Shepard's state and national leadership includes his past roles of chairing the American Bar Association's Appellate Judges Conference and the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, and leading the National Conference of Chief Justices.

An advocate for efficiency and technological advances, Shepard has worked to bring 21st-century innovations and sound practices to local government and the courts. In 2007, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels appointed Shepard and former Gov. Joe Kernan co-chairs of the bipartisan Local Government Reform Commission.

Shepard has also sought to preserve historic landmarks through his 11 years as a trustee of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and his work with Indiana Landmarks Inc.

The formal induction of new graduates into the IU Alumni Association will be done by Megan Caldwell, president of the IU Student Alumni Association. IU Trustees Vice Chair Patrick A. Shoulders will represent the university, and Nancy Hamblin, chairwoman-elect of the IU Alumni Association, will represent IU alumni.

The Rev. Linda C. Johnson, Episcopal chaplain to IU, will offer the invocation following the processional, which will be performed by the IU Commencement Ensemble under the direction of IU Jacobs School of Music doctoral student Kyle R. Glaser.

The ensemble will also provide music for the recessional. Jacobs School Dean Gwyn Richards will lead the audience, the graduating students and the platform party in singing "The Star-Spangled Banner" and, later, "Hail to Old IU."

IU students who are candidates for degrees are reminded to pick up their custom IU apparel at the IU Bookstore beginning Monday, Dec. 12, through Friday, Dec. 16. Students who did not rent a cap and gown online earlier in the semester may do so during distribution week. Apparel will be available on a first-come, first-served basis, and students who still need a cap and gown are urged to go to the bookstore as early as possible.

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