Chief Judge Roger Gregory

Chief Judge named commencement speaker

Roger L. Gregory, Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, will be awarded an honorary doctorate and offer remarks at Albright College’s 162nd Commencement ceremony, at Santander Arena, Sunday, May 15, 2022. 

Judge Gregory is the first African-American to sit on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and the only person in the nation’s history to be appointed to a federal appellate court by two presidents of different political parties (Bill Clinton, George W. Bush).

Formerly a partner in the law firm of Wilder & Gregory, Judge Gregory grew up in Petersburg, Virginia and graduated from Virginia State College and the University of Michigan Law School. President William J. Clinton recess appointed him to the Court on Dec. 27, 2000, and President George W. Bush commissioned his lifetime appointment to the Court in July 2001. He became Chief Judge on July 9, 2016. He is a member of the Judicial Conference of the United States that governs the Federal Judiciary. The Fourth Circuit includes the states of Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina.

By appointment of the Chief Justice of the United States, Judge Gregory served on the Brown v. Board of Education 50th Anniversary Commission established by the President and Congress to commemorate that landmark decision.

“I was humbled to learn that I will receive an honorary degree from Albright College — a top-rated institution of higher learning where academic excellence, accessibility and affordability are truly priorities,” said Judge Gregory. “I look forward to informing the graduates of my personal journey and, hopefully, inspiring their journey that lies ahead.”

Albright College president Jacquelyn S. Fetrow, Ph.D. ’82 remembers listening to Judge Gregory ask terrific questions while he was a trustee of the University of Richmond. “He was always focused on how every institutional decision would impact students and how those decisions would be handled equitably,” she said. “These are questions that matter at Albright College, too, and I am certain that all of us will be inspired by his message, his life, and his career journey.”

Judge Gregory’s past leadership positions include Chairman of the Industrial Development Authority of Richmond, President of the Friends Association for Children, President of the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia, Rector of Virginia Commonwealth University, the Board of Visitors of Virginia State University and also, as an adjunct professor of Constitutional Law and President of the Old Dominion Bar Association.

His numerous awards include the National Conference of Christians and Jews Humanitarian Award, the National Bar Association’s Gertrude E. Rush and Equal Justice Awards and the Washington Bar Association’s Charles Hamilton Houston Merit Medallion.

A Trustee Emeritus for the University of Richmond, Judge Gregory is an inductee in the Virginia Interscholastic Heritage Association’s Hall of Fame, a Fellow of the Virginia State Bar Foundation, and a member of the American Law Institute. He holds honorary degrees from Virginia Union University, Virginia State University, Virginia Commonwealth University, Widener University, Saint Paul’s College and The American University.

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