Christine M. Durham is Westminster's 2018 Commencement Speaker
Mar 30, 2018
Local business leaders David Simmons and Patricia Richards to receive honorary degrees
SALT LAKE CITY – Westminster is pleased to announce Christine M. Durham as the college’s 2018 commencement speaker. Durham served as chief justice and chair of the Utah Judicial Council and was the first woman on the Utah Supreme Court in 1982. She will address the Class of 2018 during the ceremony on May 12, 2018, at 9:45 a.m., at the Maverik Center in West Valley City, Utah.
In addition to becoming the first woman on the Utah Supreme Court, she co-founded Women Lawyers of Utah and was a founding member and president of the National Association of Women Judges. She taught law for many years and served on the Duke University Board of Trustees for 14 years.
"Christine Durham is an inspirational leader and trailblazer, and we are very pleased to host her as our 2018 commencement speaker," said Stephen Morgan, Westminster president. "Her dedication to gender equality, diversity and inclusion are all core values of a Westminster education. We look forward to her sharing her experiences and advice with our graduates."
Durham will receive an honorary degree at the May 12 ceremony along with:
- David Simmons: Simmons has been recognized for his entrepreneurial success in the media, communications and travel-management industries, in addition to his involvement in a variety of community organizations over his 40-year career. Currently, Simmons serves as the chairman of Morris Murdock Travel, a travel-management company based in Utah. His past positions include CEO of Simmons Media Group and chairman and CEO of Keystone Communications. He has spent nearly two decades as a member of Westminster College's Board of Trustees and currently serves on the board of Western Governor’s University.
- Patricia Richards: Richards has held various executive positions at First Security Bank and Wells Fargo Bank, retiring as senior vice president and senior regional manager of Wells's Wealth Management Group. She has chaired the boards of the Utah Symphony | Utah Opera, United Way of Salt Lake and the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce. In addition, she has served on the boards of Westminster College, Utah Bankers Association and Governor’s Economic Council. She has also been active nationally, chairing the board of the League of American Orchestras. Richards is the recipient of the Salt Lake Chamber's Athena Award, the Utah Bankers Association's Distinguished Banker Award, the Governor's Leadership in the Arts and Lifetime Achievement Awards and the National Opera Trustee Recognition Award.
Christine M. Durham
Christine M. Durham became the first woman on the Utah Supreme Court in 1982, serving for 35 years, including 10 years as chief justice and chair of the Utah Judicial Council. Her career included many opportunities for local and national service in pursuit of gender equality, diversity and inclusion in the courts and the community; improvements in the administration of justice; and building trust and confidence in the third branch of government.
She co-founded Women Lawyers of Utah and was a founding member and president of the National Association of Women Judges. She taught law for many years and served on the Duke University Board of Trustees for 14 years, for which she is now emeritus. She is also an emeritus member of the Council of the American Law Institute, a past president of the Conference of Chief Justices of the United States and past chair of the American Bar Association's Council on Legal Education, the entity that accredits American law schools. She currently serves on the Board of Overseers for the RAND Institute for Civil Justice and co-chairs Utah Center for Legal Inclusion and the Coordinating Committee for Access to Justice. She is also a trustee for University of the People, an accredited, tuition-free, online institution for higher education.
Durham was educated at Wellesley College and Duke University School of Law and came to Utah with her husband, George, in 1973. She and her husband have raised five children, the youngest with Down Syndrome. Their children’s lives have inspired their parents with joy, hope, and connections to the future.
Westminster is a private, independent, and comprehensive college in Salt Lake City, Utah. Students experience the liberal arts blended with professional programs in an atmosphere dedicated to civic engagement. With the goal of enabling its graduates to live vibrant, just, and successful lives, Westminster provides transformational learning experiences for both undergraduate and graduate students in a truly student-centered environment. Faculty focus on teaching, learning, and developing distinctive, innovative programs, while students thrive on Westminster’s urban Sugar House campus within minutes of the Rocky Mountains.