Accessible Navigation. Go to: Navigation Main Content Footer
UM News
August 15, 2013

MISSOULA – Retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor will receive an honorary doctorate of laws from the University of Montana at 3 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13, in the George and Jane Dennison Theatre. The ceremony is free and open to the public.

O’Connor has long-standing connections to the UM School of Law. She delivered the inaugural address of the school’s prestigious Jones Tamm Lecture Series in 1997, and she sat by designation on a panel of the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which conducted oral arguments at the school in the fall of 2011.

O’Connor, who was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1981, is the first woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. She retired in 2006, and since has continued her judicial service by hearing cases in the U.S. Courts of Appeals. In 2009, in recognition of her lifetime accomplishments, President Barack Obama awarded O’Connor with the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

“Justice O’Connor is a true friend of our distinguished School of Law and we are deeply honored that she accepted our invitation,” said UM President Royce Engstrom.

The faculty of the School of Law recommended O’Connor for the honorary degree, which was confirmed by the UM Faculty Senate and the Montana Board of Regents of Higher Education. The ceremony will be held in the fall to accommodate her schedule.

“Justice O’Connor occupies a unique place in the law,” said UM School of Law Dean Irma Russell. “Her service is a model for students and embodies our Western heritage. The Law School is honored by our association with Justice O’Connor and we’re delighted that UM is conferring this degree.”

For more information call UM Vice President for Integrated Communications Peggy Kuhr at 406-243-2311 or email; or call the UM School of Law Director of External Relations Carla Caballero-Jackson at 406-243-6254 or email


Photo cutline: Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. (Credit must be used: Dane Penland, Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States)




Contact: Peggy Kuhr, UM vice president for integrated communications, 406-243-2311,; Carla Caballero-Jackson, director of external relations, UM School of Law, 406-243-6254,