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Texas federal judge to address graduates at 2010 SULC Commencement, May 15 - Thursday, April 29, 2010

Judge Vanessa D. Gilmore of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas will deliver the 2010 Commencement address for Southern University Law Center at 10 a.m., Saturday, May 15, in the F.G. Clark Activity Center on the Southern University at Baton Rouge campus.

More than 125 graduates are expected to receive the juris doctor degree this spring.

In 1994 when Judge Gilmore was sworn in, she was then the youngest sitting federal judge in the nation. The native of Silver Spring, Maryland, was also the youngest member of her freshman class at her alma mater, Hampton University in Virginia. She earned a J.D. from the University of Houston Law Center in 1981.

In 1982, Gilmore began a 13-year tenure at a Houston law firm that later became known as Vickery, Kilbride, Gilmore, & Vickery. She specialized in civil litigation. Gilmore became an active member of the Houston civic and political communities. Her civic activities outside of the courtroom brought her to the attention of Governor Ann Richards, who in 1991, appointed Gilmore to the Texas Department of Commerce Policy Board, where she also served as chairperson from 1992 to 1994.

Her appointment to that board made Judge Gilmore the first African American to serve on this board responsible for increasing business and tourism and job training development in Texas. In 1993, she also served as chairperson of Texans for NAFTA. In this capacity, she worked regularly with diplomatic leaders, including the President of Mexico, to increase U.S. trade opportunities. Judge Gilmore was nominated to the federal bench by President Bill Clinton in 1994 and became the first University of Houston graduate to be appointed to the federal bench.

Judge Gilmore is the co-author of A Boy Named Rocky, a book for the children of incarcerated parents, and is a frequent speaker and lecturer on issues related to these children and their families. She has assisted with and instituted initiatives to advise these families on access to resources for their children, help the families of the incarcerated with legal needs that will strengthen families, and provide greater opportunities for family cohesiveness during incarceration. Judge Gilmore is currently at work on three books

related to adoption, including a children’s book.

She is the recipient of numerous civic awards for community service and is a member of the Board of Trustees for Hampton University, Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church, the Missouri City Chapter of Links, and Jack & Jill of America, Houston Chapter.


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