Vanessa D. Gilmore of the United States District Court for the Southern
District of Texas will deliver the 2010 Commencement address for Southern
University Law Center at 10 a.m., Saturday, May 15, in the F.G. Clark Activity
Center on the Southern University at Baton Rouge campus.
than 125 graduates are expected to receive the juris doctor degree this spring.
1994 when Judge Gilmore was sworn in, she was then the youngest sitting federal
judge in the nation. The native of Silver Spring, Maryland, was also the
youngest member of her freshman class at her alma mater, Hampton University in
Virginia. She earned a J.D. from the
University of Houston Law Center in 1981.
1982, Gilmore began a 13-year tenure at a Houston law firm that later became
known as Vickery, Kilbride, Gilmore, & Vickery. She specialized in civil litigation. Gilmore became an
active member of the Houston civic and political communities. Her civic
activities outside of the courtroom brought her to the attention of Governor
Ann Richards, who in 1991, appointed Gilmore to the Texas Department of
Commerce Policy Board, where she also served as chairperson from 1992 to 1994.
appointment to that board made Judge Gilmore the first African American to
serve on this board responsible for increasing business and tourism and job
training development in Texas. In 1993, she also served as chairperson of
Texans for NAFTA. In this capacity, she worked regularly with diplomatic
leaders, including the President of Mexico, to increase U.S. trade
opportunities. Judge Gilmore was nominated to the federal bench by President
Bill Clinton in 1994 and became the first University of Houston graduate to be
appointed to the federal bench.
Gilmore is the co-author of A Boy Named Rocky, a book for the children of incarcerated parents, and
is a frequent speaker and lecturer on issues related to these children and
their families. She has assisted with and instituted initiatives to advise
these families on access to resources for their children, help the families of
the incarcerated with legal needs that will strengthen families, and provide
greater opportunities for family cohesiveness during incarceration. Judge Gilmore
is currently at work on three books
to adoption, including a children’s book.
She is the recipient of numerous civic awards
for community service and is a member of the Board of Trustees for Hampton
University, Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church, the Missouri City Chapter of Links,
and Jack & Jill of America, Houston Chapter.