In Memoriam – Justice Sandra Day O’Connor

When The National Judicial College sought a name for its highest award for judicial excellence, Sandra Day O’Connor was a natural choice.

Justice O’Connor learned how to be a judge at the NJC, enrolling in our flagship course for new judges, General Jurisdiction, shortly after her election to the Superior Court of Maricopa County, Arizona, in 1974.

The Justice Sandra Day O’Connor Award recognizes extraordinary service and commitment, and it was fitting that the first honoree was Justice O’Connor herself. The first woman appointed to the Supreme Court of the United States, she epitomized courage and devotion to the independence of the judiciary and the fair and impartial application of the law. She was a voice of civility and a role model for all judges. After she left the court, her promotion of civics education was groundbreaking and continues on as a legacy. She also remained a proud alumna and supporter of the College.

We mourn the passing of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor but take solace in knowing that her memory and work live on in many ways, including the Justice Sandra Day O’Connor Award.

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