MACON – Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States Clarence Thomas will provide the keynote address as Mercer University School of Law dedicates its first-floor courtroom in honor of noted alumni Griffin Bell, ’48, and Frank Jones, ’50, on Monday, March 11.
The private dedication ceremony will take place beginning at 4 p.m. All seating in the Bell-Jones Courtroom is reserved; however, a live video stream to an overflow room will be available for faculty, staff, students, alumni and members of the local Bench and Bar.
“We are honored to have Supreme Court Justice Thomas serve as the keynote speaker for the courtroom dedication ceremony,” said Dean Cathy Cox. “It is sure to be a memorable event for the Mercer Law Community.”
The dedication will officially rename the first-floor courtroom the Griffin B. Bell and Frank C. Jones Courtroom.
“Both Judge Bell and Frank Jones left a lasting mark on the law and within the legal field,” said Cox. “I can think of no better way to honor two of our most accomplished alumni, and hope that as students enter the courtroom daily, they will be reminded that these Mercer Law legends have paved the way for them.”
Bell earned a law degree from Mercer in 1948 and an honorary Doctor of Laws from the University in 1967. He is best known for having served as the 72nd Attorney General of the United States under President Jimmy Carter. His appointment followed 14 years of distinguished service as a judge on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, where he was a leading voice in some of the court’s most enduring legal decisions.
Jones was a 1950 graduate of Mercer Law School, coming to Mercer after earning his bachelor’s degree at Emory University in 1947. He served as editor-in-chief of the Mercer Law Review. Following graduation from the University, Jones practiced in Macon until 1977 at the law firm now known as Jones, Cork & Miller, which was founded by his great-grandfather. Jones made partner there before joining King & Spalding in Atlanta, where he served as chairman of the Policy Committee and head of the Litigation Department.
About Justice Thomas
Justice Thomas was born in the Pinpoint community near Savannah on June 23, 1948. He attended Conception Seminary from 1967-1968 and received an A.B., cum laude, from Holy Cross College in 1971 and a J.D. from Yale Law School in 1974.
He was admitted to law practice in Missouri in 1974 and served as Assistant Attorney General of Missouri from 1974-1977; an attorney with the Monsanto Company from 1977-1979; and Legislative Assistant to Sen. John Danforth from 1979-1981. From 1981-1982, he served as Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education, and he served as chairman of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission from 1982-1990. From 1990-1991, he served as a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
President George H.W. Bush nominated him as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, and he took his seat Oct. 23, 1991.
About Mercer Law School
Founded in 1873, Mercer University School of Law is one of the oldest law schools in the United States and the first one in the state of Georgia accredited by the American Bar Association. The Law School is named after Walter F. George, a 1901 Mercer Law School graduate who became a Justice of the Georgia State Supreme Court and later a U.S. Senator. Mercer Law School’s educational philosophy is based on a broadly shared commitment to prepare students for the high-quality practice of law in a day-to-day learning environment that is both strongly supportive and consistently professional. Mercer Law School is one of only two schools to be a two-time recipient of the prestigious ABA Gambrell Professionalism Award for excellence and innovation in ethics and professionalism throughout the curriculum. With an enrollment of about 400 students, Mercer Law School is nationally recognized for its exceptional programs in legal writing, moot court, experiential education, and ethics and professionalism.
About Mercer University
Founded in 1833, Mercer University is a dynamic and comprehensive center of undergraduate, graduate and professional education. With more than 8,700 students enrolled in 12 schools and colleges, on major campuses in Macon and Atlanta; medical school sites in Macon, Savannah and Columbus; and at regional academic centers in Henry and Douglas counties, Mercer is classified as a Doctoral University with High Research Activity by the Carnegie Classification of Institutes of Higher Education and ranked among the top tier of national research universities by U.S. News & World Report. The Mercer Health Sciences Center includes the University’s School of Medicine and Colleges of Nursing, Health Professions and Pharmacy. Mercer is affiliated with five teaching hospitals – Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah; The Medical Center, Navicent Health, and Coliseum Medical Centers in Macon; and Midtown Medical Center and St. Francis Hospital in Columbus. The University also has an educational partnership with Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex in Warner Robins. It operates an academic press and a performing arts center in Macon and an engineering research center in Warner Robins. Mercer is one of only 286 institutions nationwide to shelter a chapter of The Phi Beta Kappa Society, the nation’s most prestigious academic honor society; one of eight institutions to hold membership in the Georgia Research Alliance; and the only private university in Georgia to field an NCAA Division I athletic program. www.mercer.edu