MACON – Trailblazing judge the Hon. W. Louis Sands, a 1971 graduate of Mercer’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and 1974 graduate of Mercer Law School, will deliver the University’s 2020 Founders’ Day address Feb. 5 at 10 a.m. in Willingham Auditorium on the Macon campus.
Each year on Founders’ Day, a prominent Mercerian returns to campus to share how the University has influenced his or her life. The Heritage Life Committee of the Student Government Association (SGA) coordinates the annual convocation, which first took place at Mercer in 1891.
“The Student Government Association was pleased to hear that Judge Sands accepted our invitation to speak at Founders’ Day. We look forward to hearing from him about his experiences at Mercer and the road that lead him to such professional success,” said Alexis Passmore, chair of the Heritage Life Committee.
Sands, who currently resides in Albany, was appointed to the United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia by U.S. President Bill Clinton on May 9, 1994.
Sands was the first African-American to serve in a number of prominent legal roles, including assistant district attorney for the Macon Judicial Circuit, assistant U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Georgia, superior court judge in Bibb County, and district court judge and chief judge for the Middle District of Georgia.
Upon graduating from Mercer’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in 1971 with a B.A. in political science and music, he was commissioned in the United States Army Reserves Signal Corps, where he attained the rank of captain upon completion of his service. He earned his J.D. from Mercer’s School of Law in 1974.
In addition to his judicial and military service, Sands has been a board member and chair for many organizations, including three terms on the Mercer Board of Trustees. He was the commencement speaker for Mercer’s Macon ceremony in 2015 and frequently addresses legal, civic, religious and charitable organizations.
Sands has received numerous awards, including the Meritorious Service Award and Outstanding Alumnus Award from Mercer Law School.