18 September 2006

A Personal Moment

I didn't get a chance to update the blogroll or make any of the other planned cosmetic changes to the site this weekend due to a death in the family. Normally, I wouldn't consider posting something this personal, this intimate, on a public forum. In this case, however, the loss I suffered is one that many will feel, whether they know it or not. Her life and accomplishments deserve to be celebrated and, after some deliberation, I chose to use this forum to do so.

From The Boston Sunday Globe:

At Suffolk University Law School, where she taught generations of students the fine points of contract law, Catherine T. Judge was known lovingly by colleagues as ``the grande dame of Suffolk Law" -- and by her students as a force to be reckoned with.

``Catherine was a role model for so many of our students, particularly for our women," said Suffolk Law School dean Robert H. Smith, noting that Dr. Judge was the first woman to become a full-time law professor at Suffolk in 1967 and the first woman to become a tenured professor of law there in 1970.

The only woman to graduate in Suffolk Law's class of 1957 -- and first in her class, Smith said -- Dr. Judge died of cancer Thursday at Boston Center for Rehabilitation & Subacute Care in Roslindale.
It's difficult for someone at my tender age to understand just how much fortitude and dedication it took for Catherine to accomplish what she did, when she did it. She worked during the day and attended classes in the evening. She had to exercise superior devotion, not simply to graduate but to prove that she --- and all women --- could survive and excel in the legal profession. As the lone woman and valedictorian of her graduating class, she demonstrated a combination of ability and passion surpassing all her classmates. That, among her many other virtues, will stand out as her legacy not only to me, but to the students she taught over the course of her 40 years teaching at Suffolk.

I know that this has been awkward to read, and seemingly out of place. But this site is dedicated to progressive political and social change. Personally, my devotion to this topic is in part a response to Catherine's steadfast belief that men and women ought to be given equal opportunity to succeed in whatever endeavor they chose. She counseled all of her students, but she seemed to both push and advise her female and minority students with fervor --- acknowledging that they had a tougher road but that it was neither impossible nor a waste of time. And not only did she believe that, she lived it each day of her life.


Blogger lecollye said...


19 September, 2006 12:14  

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