Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson Engages with Faculty and Staff Ahead of Historic Commencement Speech at American University Washington College of Law

Associate Justice of the Supreme Court shares insights and camaraderie with faculty and staff before inspiring graduates at inaugural commencement address

Dean Roger A. Fairfax (left), Senior Associate Dean Heather Hughes and Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson at the faculty breakfast before the 2023 commencement ceremony. (Photo: Amy Hart)

In a special and memorable visit, The Honorable Ketanji Brown Jackson, Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, spent quality time with the esteemed faculty and staff of the American University Washington College of Law. Prior to delivering her historic commencement address, Justice Jackson took the opportunity to engage in a fireside chat with Dean Roger A. Fairfax, Jr. over a faculty breakfast.

The visit was particularly significant as Justice Jackson has a personal connection with Dean Fairfax, making the occasion all the more meaningful. As friends and esteemed colleagues, their shared commitment to justice and legal education has brought them together on numerous occasions, deepening their bond and mutual respect. Graciously sharing her valuable perspectives, legal insights, and even amusing banter with Dean Fairfax, Justice Jackson talked about her historic journey to the Supreme Court.

During her time with the faculty and staff, Justice Jackson demonstrated her passion for the law and genuine interest in the work at the American University Washington College of Law. She talked about how much has changed since she was in law school and embraced the opportunity to learn more about the innovative programs and initiatives that shape AUWCL's identity.

Dean Roger Fairfax and Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson hold a fireside chat with WCL faculty before the 2023 commencement ceremony. (Photo: Amy Hart)

The faculty and staff members were honored to engage in dialogue with Justice Jackson. Her insights offered a glimpse into some of the challenges and opportunities that come with being on the Supreme Court and the profound impact of legal decisions on society. Justice Jackson's visit served as a reminder of the critical role that legal professionals play in upholding the principles of justice and the rule of law.

Dean Fairfax expressed his gratitude for Justice Jackson's visit, stating, "I am grateful for Justice Jackson's generosity of time and spirit, and delighted that her first commencement speech as a member of the Supreme Court was delivered right here at our history-making law school."

The faculty and staff members were inspired by Justice Jackson's legal expertise and her warm and approachable demeanor, including making time for photos with faculty and staff.

Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson (center) made time for a group photo with AUWCL faculty

Her visit created a sense of unity and reinforced the commitment to excellence that permeates the American University Washington College of Law.

Read more in the commencement article: "You Are Ready": Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson Told the WCL Class of 2023.

Story by Keith Pierce.