On Thursday, November 11, 2010, Dillard University will honor a distinguished alumnus and former university trustee, Justice Revius O. Ortique, Jr., by dedicating in his name the Mock Trial Center in the new Professional Schools and Sciences Building on campus. To commemorate the occasion, the Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr., Attorney General of the United States, will keynote the Inaugural Justice Revius O. Ortique, Jr. Public Affairs Lecture on Law and Society.
"Although most knew Justice Ortique for his many accomplishments — civil rights warrior, counselor to five presidents, the first African American Chief Justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court — we knew Justice Ortique best for his loyalty and commitment to his alma mater," said Dillard University President Dr. Marvalene Hughes. "He inspired all of us and we are pleased to have yet another opportunity to recognize him for his many contributions to his 'fair' Dillard," she said.
"The Mock Trial Center will be beneficial for not only students at Dillard University, but also for the entire community," said Miriam V. Ortique, wife of Justice Ortique. "The family is honored to have this center dedicated to Revius. He was always so interested in education; this mock trial center is a perfect legacy to honor his name, "she said.
The inaugural lecture opens the evening at 5:30 p.m. in the auditorium of the Professional Schools Building with remarks by Dillard Board of Trustee Chair Dr. Joyce Roche, Dillard President Dr. Marvalene Hughes, Louisiana State Supreme Court Justice Bernette Johnson, and Justice Ortique's grandson, Dr. Alden "Chip" McDonald, III. The Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr., will then give the inaugural lecture. Due to limited space, seating for the lecture is by invitation only, but is open to credentialed press.
Immediately following the lecture, guests are invited to the Mock Trial Center for the unveiling of Justice Ortique's dedication ceremonies. The program and subsequent reception will be held in the atrium of the Professional Schools and Sciences Building.
A pioneering civil rights activist for more than 60 years, Revius O. Ortique, Jr. was the first African American elected to the Louisiana Supreme Court. As an attorney and judge, he engaged in many landmark decisions, and had a national reputation for fairness and integrity. He served five U.S. presidents, and held numerous national leadership positions, including president of the National Bar Association. He served his community as the president of the Louis A. Martinet Society, as a member of the Louisiana Ethics Board, and as Chairman of the New Orleans Aviation Board. Justice Ortique earned a master's of arts from Indiana University and a Juris Doctorate from Southern University in Baton Rouge. The Justice Revius O. Ortique, Jr.. Chair in Political Science and Social Justice at Dillard is valued at $1 million.
The Justice Revius O Ortique, Jr. Mock Trial Center grew out of Dillard University's commitment to undergraduate students who seek careers in law, government service, criminal justice, social work, public policy, and environmental justice. The Center's activities are uniquely focused on Justice Ortique's archival papers, endowed chair in public policy, and pre-law scholarships, and the Justice Revius O. Ortique, Jr. Law and Society Annual Lecture.
The Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr., Attorney General of the United States is the first speaker for the Justice Revius O. Ortique, Jr. Public Affairs Lecture on Law and Society. Born in New York City, Mr. Holder attended public schools there, graduating from Stuyvesant High School, before earning a B.A. in American History from Columbia College in 1973 and a J.D. from Columbia Law School in 1976.
Upon his graduation from law school, Mr. Holder joined the Department of Justice through the Attorney General's Honors Program. He was assigned to the newly-formed Public Integrity Section, where he investigated and prosecuted corruption involving officials in local, state, and federal government. In 1988, President Reagan appointed Mr. Holder to serve as an Associate Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, where he presided over hundreds of criminal and civil trials during his five years on the bench. In 1993, President Clinton appointed Judge Holder to serve as the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia. In 1997, President Clinton appointed Mr. Holder to serve as Deputy Attorney General of the United States, a position that he held until the end of the Clinton administration. At the request of President George W. Bush, Mr. Holder served as Acting Attorney General in 2001 pending the confirmation of Attorney General John Ashcroft.
In July 2001, Mr. Holder joined the Washington, D.C. law firm of Covington & Burling as a partner in the firm's litigation practice group, where he represented clients in complex civil and criminal cases as well as internal corporate investigations.
President Barack Obama nominated Mr. Holder to be Attorney General and his nomination was confirmed by the United States Senate on February 2, 2009. Mr. Holder began his service as the eighty-second Attorney General of the United States the next day.
Mr. Holder's many civic commitments have included service on the boards of Columbia University, the National Center for Victims of Crime, the Meyer Foundation, and the Save the Children Foundation, among many others. He also served on the U.S. Sentencing Commission Ad Hoc Advisory Group.
Mr. Holder has received numerous awards in recognition of his professional and civic contributions, including the Department of Justice's Special Achievement Award, the District of Columbia Bar Association's Beatrice Rosenberg Award, and George Washington University's Martin Luther King, Jr. Medal for Outstanding Service in Human Rights. The District of Columbia Bar Association recognized Mr. Holder as its Lawyer of the Year in 1997.
Mr. Holder lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife, Dr. Sharon Malone, and their three children.
Photo of the late-Justice Revius O. Ortique, Jr. by Jim Thomas. Photo of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder by the U.S. Department of Justice.
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