Friday, May 5, 2006
RICHMOND, Va. (May 5, 2006) – The L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University has named a federal appeals court judge as recipient of the 2006 Wilder School Public Service Award.
The Hon. Roger L. Gregory is the first African American appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, which includes Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.
"Judge Gregory is a shining example of someone who has devoted his life to serving others, and VCU is very fortunate that he devoted some of that time to this institution, serving both as a member of the board of visitors and as rector,” VCU President Eugene P. Trani said during the award ceremony on Wednesday. “He has had a great impact in our community.”
Gregory was appointed by former President Bill Clinton in recess and has been on the bench since Jan.18, 2001. He was renominated by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the Senate for a lifetime appointment to that court on July 25, 2001. Gregory is the only person ever to be appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals by two presidents of different political parties.
“We are honoring Judge Roger Gregory for a lifetime of public service and for being a friend to VCU over the years,” said Robert Holsworth, Ph.D., acting dean of VCU’s College of Humanities and Sciences and director of the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs.
Gregory grew up in Petersburg, Va. He received a bachelor’s degree from Virginia State University in 1975 and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Michigan in 1978.
He was an associate attorney in the Detroit firm of Butzel, Long, Gust, Klein and Van Zile and in the Richmond firm of Hunton and Williams.
In 1982, he formed the law firm of Wilder & Gregory, alongside L. Douglas Wilder, who later served as Virginia governor and is currently the mayor of Richmond. Gregory served as managing partner and head of the litigation section of Wilder & Gregory until his appointment to the court.
“If there were any other person more deserving of this honor, I just don’t know him,” Wilder said.
Gregory has served as a designee of the Chief Justice of the United States on the Brown v. Board of Education 50th Anniversary Commission, established by the president and Congress to commemorate the anniversary of that landmark decision.
Nationally known civil rights lawyer Oliver W. Hill attended the award ceremony. He was co-counsel in the lawsuit Davis v. County School Board of Prince Edward County, which later became one of the five cases decided under Brown v. Board of Education by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1954.
“This is a wonderful night, a wonderful night,” Hill said.
Gregory is a former president of the Old Dominion Bar Association and served on the board of directors of the Virginia Association of Defense Attorneys and the Richmond Bar Association. He is a fellow of the Virginia State Bar Association, a former VCU rector and former member of the board of visitors of Virginia State University.
He holds honorary Doctor of Laws degrees from Virginia Union University and Virginia State University and an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from VCU.
He is married to the former Carla Lewis and they have three daughters.
“So many of you are responsible for me being here,” Gregory said. “This is a very humbling night.”
VCU’s Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs offers programs at the undergraduate and graduate level in the areas of public policy, administration and management, criminal justice, urban studies and geography and is now the first major research university in the country to offer a bachelor’s degree in homeland security.
About VCU and VCU Medical Center
Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 31,000 students in 226 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Sixty-seven of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 13 schools and one college. MCV Hospitals and the health sciences schools of Virginia Commonwealth University comprise VCU Medical Center, one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers. For more, see www.vcu.edu.