By Andrew Skerritt
Florida A&M University College of Law unveiled its Judges Gallery of graduates sitting on the bench or retired from the judiciary.
The first-floor gallery in the law school downtown Orlando campus includes portraits of 16 past and present judges who are graduates of FAMU College of Law. The Saturday, May 7 unveiling program was one of several events to celebrate the school’s 20 years of operations in Orlando. To signify the importance of the event, FAMU College of Law Dean Deidré Keller used the words of the senior-most judge honoree retired Judge Perker L. Meeks, a 1968 graduate of the original College of Law, who served on the bench in California for 26 years. Meeks served on the Superior Court of San Francisco County for eight years prior to his retirement in 2006.
Meeks, who was represented by his relatives, sent remarks about why law students need to see alumni judges as they walk the law school hallways.
“Judges are as informed by their colleagues on the bench as those who aspire to the bench,” Meeks said. “So, it’s important for students to know who the judges were who once stood where they did, because therein lies an opportunity for both the student and the judge to exchange thoughts, ideas, opinions, and perspectives with one another. And both are better for it.”
Dean Keller said the event was far more than ceremonial.
“Our purpose tonight is to not only honor the alumni judges but to also take action that serves to educate and inspire the next generation of lawyers and leaders,” Keller said. “We are confident that this gallery of judges’ photographs will do just that, for many years to come.”
The ceremony was also attended by FAMU President Larry Robinson, Ph.D., and FAMU Trustees, Otis Cliatt II, and Ann Marie Cavazos, a member of the College of Law faculty and president of the FAMU Faculty Senate.
President Robinson spoke about the diversity of the group of judges present and reminded the gathering that 80 percent of African American judges attended a Historically Black College and University (HBCU), including FAMU.
“Justice is a core value of the America in which we live. The work you do is always invaluable and cannot be replaced. It’s wonderful to see Rattlers in these places,” Robinson told the judges, who were each given a large portrait. While the present law school was reestablished in 2002, Robinson said, the FAMU College of Law has an even longer history.
“The Law School started with its first class in 1951. There have been Rattlers doing wonderful things for generations. The whole idea of this gallery is having them be acknowledged so that every visitor can see what this institution is doing in 2022. That has tremendous value.”
Judges Featured in the College of Law Gallery
Andrew Bain, (2013) Ninth Judicial Circuit, Orange County, Fla.
Amy Carter, (2008) Ninth Judicial Circuit, Orange County, Fla.
Devin Collier, (2011) Fourteenth Judicial Circuit, Bay County, Fla.
Christy Collins (2011) Ninth Judicial Circuit, Orange County, Fla.,
Kelly Ingram (2008) Eighteenth Judicial Circuit, Brevard County, Fla.
Hausbrouck Jacobs (2008) Thirteenth Judicial Circuit, Columbia, Missouri.
Victoria Johnson (2008) Magistrate Court, Dougherty County, Ga.
Stacie Kaylor (2008) Tenth Judicial Circuit, Polk County.
Gabrielle Sanders-Morency (2009) Ninth Judicial Circuit Osceola County, Fla.
Mikaela Nix-Walker (2009), Ninth Judicial Circuit, Osceola County, Fla.
Janine Van Dusen (2007), associate judge at Tulalip Tribal Court, Camano Island, Washington.
ShaLanda Williams (2012) Magistrate Court , Henry County, Ga.
Perker Meeks, (1968) served on the Superior Court of San Francisco County.
Ralph Flowers (1968) served as a municipal judge in Fort Pierce, Fla., during the mid-1970s. He died in 2014 at age 78.
Alcee Hastings (1963) was a federal judge before he was elected to the U.S. Congress. He died in 2021 at age 84.
Edward Rodgers, (1963) was a Palm Beach County judge. He died in 2018 at age 91.