Judge Kim Berkeley Clark to speak at commencement
Duquesne University's School of Law will host its 107th Commencement exercises on Sunday, May 16, 2021. The day will begin with Baccalaureate Mass at 9 a.m., which will be livestreamed. The Commencement ceremony will be held in-person at 11 a.m. at the Cooper Fieldhouse, with masking and social distancing requirements. Duquesne President Ken Gormley, former dean of the law school, will confer the degrees and Dean April Mara Barton will preside. 157 students are expected to participate in the live ceremony, with Judge Kim Berkeley Clark as the event's distinguished speaker.
Judge Berkeley Clark currently serves at the President Judge of the 5th Judicial District of Pennsylvania. She is a trailblazer, being the first African American judge to occupy that role. Clark serves as a Family Division judge, primarily hearing Juvenile Court cases. Prior to that, she served as the Administrative Judge of the Family Division from January of 2006 to January 2009 and from 2013 through 2017.
Judge Clark is an active presence in the community. She is the current chairperson of the Pennsylvania Juvenile Court Judges' Commission and president of the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network. She held previous posts as president of the Pennsylvania Conference of State Trial Judges, and the Allegheny County Bar Association.
Always working toward fairness and equity, Judge Clark is a member of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court Juvenile Procedural Rules Committee; the Pennsylvania Interbranch Commission on Racial, Gender, and Ethnic Fairness; the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency-Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Committee; the Pennsylvania State Children's Roundtable, the Governor's Juvenile Justice Task Force, and the ABA Juvenile Justice Standards Task Force.
Judge Clark's family law work led her moderating a panel discussion on the needs of caregivers of children of incarcerated parents at the White House in June 2013. In November of 2017, she received the William H. Rehnquist Award for Judicial Excellence. The Rehnquist Award, presented annually by the National Center for State Courts, is one of the nation's highest judicial honors.
Judge Clark is a 1983 graduate of Duquesne University's School of Law. She is the recipient of the School's 2019 Woman of the Year Award, which recognizes a distinguished "female alumna who promotes gender equality, gives back to the community, demonstrates professionalism and leadership, raises awareness about issues affecting women, maintains a meaningful connection with female Duquesne Law students, and pioneers a new path for women in the legal profession."
The commencement ceremony carries extra anticipation this year because the ceremony will be held in-person. "Our students have weathered a year of learning that has been unlike any other and we are excited they will have the opportunity to celebrate their special accomplishments and receive their degrees with each other and our faculty. Additionally, Judge Clark is an exceptional alumna and we are honored that she will be joining us on this special day for our graduates," said Dean April Barton.
Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and horizon-expanding education. A campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, Duquesne prepares students by having them work alongside faculty to discover and reach their goals. The University's academic programs, community service, and commitment to equity and opportunity in the Pittsburgh region have earned national acclaim.
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