Gertner to speak at Wheaton commencement in Norton

News Outlet:
Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Norton —

Nancy Gertner, a former U.S. federal judge who built her career around standing up for women’s rights, civil liberties and justice for all, will deliver the keynote address to the Class of 2013 at Wheaton College’s 178th Commencement, to be held Saturday, May 18.

Gertner was appointed to the federal bench of the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts by President Bill Clinton in 1994. She retired from the bench in 2011 and now is a professor of practice at Harvard Law School, a position given to outstanding individuals whose teaching is informed by extensive expertise in law practice, the judiciary, policy and governance. She also taught at the Yale Law School while a judge.

Named one of “The Most Influential Lawyers of the Past 25 Years” by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, Gertner has written and spoken throughout the U.S., Europe and Asia. She has published widely on sentencing, discrimination, and forensic evidence; women’s rights; and the jury system. Her autobiography, “In Defense of Women: Memoirs of an Unrepentant Advocate,” was published in 2011.

She is a graduate of Barnard College, Columbia University, and holds a master’s of administration and juris doctor from Yale University. She has received numerous awards, including the Massachusetts Bar Association’s Hennessey Award for judicial excellence in 2011; the Morton A. Brody Distinguished Judicial Service Award from Colby College in 2010; the National Association of Women Lawyers’ highest honor, the Arabella Babb Mansfield Award, in 2011, and, in 2008, the Thurgood Marshall Award from the American Bar Association, Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities, which recognized her contributions to advancing human rights and civil liberties.

Her other awards include: the Judicial Excellence Award, Federal Bar Association, 2008; Charles P. Kindregan Award, Suffolk University Law School, 2007; a Judicial Excellence citation from the Boston Bar Association, 2006; and the Judge Toomey Judicial Excellence Award, 2005.

Adding to the list, Gertner will receive an honorary degree at Commencement, as will two of Wheaton’s distinguished alumnae, Patricia Flaherty ’83, senior project manager for Mission Hill Neighborhood Housing Services, a community-based nonprofit housing and economic development organization, and Diane Leshefsky Troderman ’63, a noted philanthropist in education and Jewish culture.

Flaherty is a community activist and organizer, who personally advocates for community development that benefits low-income families in the Mission Hill neighborhood of Boston. She also serves on the community advisory board of Boston Children’s Hospital. In 2012, she received the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women Unsung Heroine Award. And, in 2010, she received the Boston Neighborhood Fellows Award from the Philanthropic Initiative.

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