St. Paul, Minn. – The Honorable Wilhelmina Wright, a United States District Court Judge for the District of Minnesota and former Associate Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court, will be the 2017 commencement speaker at the Macalester College graduation ceremony.

Commencement will be held at 1:30 p.m., Saturday, May 13, at the college.

“Judge Wilhelmina Wright is an acclaimed jurist who was the first African American woman to serve on the Minnesota Supreme Court,” said Macalester President Brian Rosenberg. “We are truly honored to have someone of her stature as our commencement speaker this year.”

Former President Barack Obama nominated her in 2015 to the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota. “(Judge Wilhelmina Marie Wright) has a long and distinguished record of service, and I am confident she will serve on the federal bench with distinction.” She received her commission in February 2016. Her predecessor was Judge Michael J. Davis, who graduated from Macalester in 1969.

Previously, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton appointed Judge Wright to the Minnesota Supreme Court, and she served as a judge on the Minnesota Court of Appeals and the Ramsey County District Court (Saint Paul).

Judge Wright is the only jurist in state history to serve as a state district court judge, appellate court judge and state Supreme Court justice.

Prior to her judicial career, she was an Assistant U.S. Attorney, representing the United States in complex economic-fraud cases and violent-crime cases in the District Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

She was awarded the U.S. Department of Justice Special Achievement Award in 1997 and the U.S. Department of Justice Director’s Award for Public Service in 2000.

Judge Wright also practiced law in the Washington, DC office of Hogan & Hartson, LLP, where she represented school districts across the nation seeking to enhance educational opportunities for public-school students.

Following law school, Judge Wright served as a law clerk for the Honorable Damon J. Keith on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

She graduated cum laude from Yale and received her JD from Harvard Law School.



March 10 2017

Back to top