Philadelphia Judge Frederica Massiah-Jackson will address the 2020 graduates and Senior U.S. District Court Judge C. Darnell Jones, II will address the 2021 graduates of the Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law at commencement on Wednesday, May 19, at the La Salle University’s McCarthy Stadium (1900 W. Onley Avenue).
At 10 a.m. the law school will celebrate the class of 2020, which includes 184 graduates. The ceremony will celebrate 130 graduates who will receive a JD, 51 who will receive a Master of Legal Studies and three who will receive an LLM in American Legal Practice.
The Honorable Frederica Massiah-Jackson, during her judicial career spanning nearly four decades, achieved historic firsts as a woman of color. Massiah-Jackson ushered in key reforms and expert management in Pennsylvania’s largest court system and was honored widely for her accomplishments.
Elected to the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas in 1983, Massiah-Jackson presided over medical malpractice and product liability cases, complex commercial litigation and personal injury matters. On the city courts, Massiah-Jackson was the first African American woman to preside in civil jury trials. In 2001, she was elected the first African American president judge of any county in Pennsylvania.
For her trailblazing leadership, activism and legal acumen, Drexel University will present Massiah-Jackson with the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.
At 2 p.m., the law school will celebrate the class of 2021, which includes 220 graduates. The 2021 ceremony will celebrate 169 graduates who will receive a JD, 40 who will receive a Master of Legal Studies, five who will receive a LLM in Cyber Law & Data Privacy; five who will receive a LLM in Healthcare & Pharmaceutical Compliance, and one who will receive an LLM in American Legal Practice.
The Honorable C. Darnell Jones, II has served on the federal court based in Philadelphia, following his nomination by President George W. Bush, since 2008. On several occasions, Jones served by designation on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. He also served a six-year term on the Committee on Criminal Law of the Judicial Conference of the United States, having been appointed by Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. in 2012. Among his other judicial responsibilities, Jones presided over federal grand juries.
During his 21-year tenure on the Philadelphia court, Jones presided over numerous civil and criminal trials and served in many capacities, including three years as president judge from 2005 to 2008. Before joining the bench, Jones served as a trial attorney at the Defender Association of Philadelphia, and subsequently became chief of the Family Court Division for that organization.
For his many contributions to an independent judiciary, his service to the profession, and his legal acumen, Drexel University will present Jones with the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.