State's top jurist to deliver Elon Law Commencement address

Chief Justice Cheri Beasley, the first African-American woman to lead the Supreme Court of North Carolina, will share her wisdom at December's graduation ceremony for the Elon Law Class of 2019.

Chief Justice Cheri Beasley of the Supreme Court of North Carolina will deliver Elon Law’s Commencement address in December as the university graduates its third class to enroll in a 2.5-year program defined by an emphasis on experiential learning and practical training.

Commencement takes place Saturday, Dec. 14, at 11 a.m. inside Elon University’s Alumni Gym.

The state’s 29th chief justice and the first African-American woman to hold the position, Beasley’s judicial career began in 1999 as a District Court judge. In 2008, she was elected to serve as an associate judge on the North Carolina Court of Appeals. After four years on the Court of Appeals, Beasley was appointed to the Supreme Court of North Carolina, subsequently winning election to the position in 2014.

“Chief Justice Beasley’s many achievements make her the ideal legal leader to deliver a Commencement address to the Elon Law Class of 2019,” said Elon Law Dean Luke Bierman. “Her remarkable story should inspire our graduates to use their Elon Law education to advance the rule of law and ensure equal access to justice for all people.”

Beasley holds a Master of Laws in Judicial Studies from Duke University, a J.D. from The University of Tennessee College of Law, and a bachelor’s degree from Douglass College of Rutgers University. She lectures frequently at area law schools and promotes the rule of law and the administration of justice in lectures around the world, emphasizing the importance of an independent judiciary and fair judicial selection.

Beasley also has served in a number of leadership roles in the North Carolina Bar Association, as a member of the N.C. Bar Foundation Endowment Committee, and as a member of the American Bar Association Standing Committee for Legal Aid and Indigent Defense.

The chief justice is the recipient of multiple awards and honors including the Fayetteville State University Chancellor’s Medallion, the North Carolina Association of Women Attorneys’ Gwyneth B. Davis Award, and The University of Tennessee Knoxville Trailblazer Award, as well as inductions into The Douglass Society, the highest honor bestowed by Douglass College of Rutgers University, and the Rutgers University African-American Alumni Alliance Hall of Fame.

She and her husband, Curtis Owens, are the proud parents of twin sons, Thomas and Matthew, who are now college freshmen.

About Elon Law:

Elon University School of Law in Greensboro, North Carolina, is the preeminent school for engaged and experiential learning in law. It integrates traditional classroom instruction with highly experiential full-time residencies-in-practice in a logically sequenced program of transformational professional preparation. Elon Law’s groundbreaking approach is accomplished in 2.5 years, which provides distinctive value by lowering tuition and permitting graduates early entry into their professional careers.