Mississippi College

School of Law Awards Two Honorary Degrees

May 8, 2009

Federal judges who served their state and nation with distinction will receive honorary degrees at Mississippi College School of Law graduation ceremonies.

Ceremonies will be Friday May 15 at First Baptist Church in Jackson. Doctor of laws degrees will go to Charles Clark, who retired from the federal bench in 1992, and Leslie Southwick, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

Clark was nominated by President Richard Nixon to a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit in October 1969. In 1981, the Mississippian became chief judge of the Fifth Circuit. He returned to private practice with the Watkins & Eager law firm in Jackson upon his retirement as a judge.

Clark was educated at Delta State University, Millsaps College and Tulane University. At age 18, he joined the United States Naval Reserve as an ensign during World War II, and later served as a lieutenant with the Naval Reserve during the Korean war. Judge Clark and his wife, Emily, have six children and reside in Jackson.

A native Texan, Southwick was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in October 2007 to serve as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. At the time, he was an adjunct professor of the Mississippi College School of Law in Jackson. He's also served on the Mississippi Court of Appeals and was a deputy assistant attorney general for the civil division of the U.S. Department of Justice.

During his stint on the Court of Appeals, Southwick joined the Mississippi National Guard as a judge advocate and later deployed to Iraq with his unit in 2005. Southwick and his wife, Sharon, have two children and reside in Jackson. Southwick graduated from Rice University and received his law degree at the University of Texas School of Law in 1975.

Mississippi College School of Law dean Jim Rosenblatt praised both honorary degree recipients.

"We honor Judge Clark for his achievements, and we hold out to our students his character and contributions to society,'' Rosenblatt said. "We want our students to emulate Judge Clark's professionalism and devotion to the law.''

MC students have enjoyed the benefits of Southwick's instruction over the years and look forward to his continued teaching, Rosenblatt said. "He brings a broad perspective of legal experience to the classroom and is well known for his insightful instruction.''

MC law school is expected to award degrees to 173 graduates at ceremonies beginning at 10 a.m.

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