The Indiana University Maurer School of Law has established an endowed professorship in honor of alumna Juanita Kidd Stout, the first African American woman to serve on a state supreme court in the United States.
The new professorship was established through $1 million in pledges and gifts from university faculty, friends, and alumni. It is the first professorship in the history of Indiana University to honor an African American woman and the law school’s first endowed position named for a woman of color.
“Justice Kidd Stout has long been a personal hero of mine,” said Lauren Robel, provost, executive vice president, and the Val Nolan Professor of Law at Indiana University. “She lived a remarkable life of historic firsts marked by courage and compassion while shattering barriers to women and African Americans in the legal profession.”
Stout earned a juris doctor degree and a master of laws degree from the Indiana University School of Law in 1948 and 1954, respectively. After her graduation, she moved to Pennsylvania where she founded her own law practice. She then went on to work in the district attorney’s office. In 1959, she was elected to the Philadelphia Municipal Court, making her the first African American woman in the country to be elected to a court of record. Later in her career, she became the first African American woman to be appointed to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and the first African American woman to serve as a state supreme court justice in the United States. She received an honorary degree from Indiana University in 1966 and was inducted into the law school’s Academy of Law Alumni Fellows in 1986.
Justice Stout passed in 1998 at the age of 79. In her memory, the city of Philadelphia established the Juanita Kidd Stout Criminal Justice Center, honoring her significant career as a lawyer and public servant.
“The greatest law schools have great minds — faculty who are simultaneously creative scholars and engaging teachers,” said Austen Parrish, dean of the law school and the James H. Rudy Professor of Law. “Endowed professorships are a crucial tool for retaining our world-class faculty, for continually enriching our academic environment and, in turn, for attracting the most talented students. It will be a tremendous honor for a faculty member to be named the Juanita Kidd Stout Professor of Law.”
The holder of the new professorship will be announced later this year.