Former N.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice to deliver commencement address

Main (Makayla Cook)

By Taylor Shaw

WPU announced Monday that Burley Mitchell, former Chief Justice of the NC Supreme Court, is the 2012 commencement speaker.

Mitchell, whose wife is a 1962 Peace alumna, is a veteran of the U.S. Navy, served as an assistant attorney general of North Carolina from 1969 to 1972 and a district attorney from 1972 to 1977.

A judge on more than 400 decisions, Mitchell has ruled on numerous landmark cases such as Leandro v. State of North Carolina, which argued the issue of equal educational opportunities without bias for all children within the state of North Carolina.

Now retired, Mitchell continues to dedicate his time to serving the North Carolina community, through his seat on the board of trustees for NC State University, the University of North Carolina’s Board of Governors, and a chairman of the advisory panel on federal judicial nominees for U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan.

“He is a true example of leadership and talent that has been developed to improve both our local and national government,” said WPU president, Debra Townsley. “I look forward to the insight and perspective he will share with our university graduates in May as they prepare to take the next steps in their continuing journey of life.”

Mitchell’s wife, Lou Willett Mitchell, is an active university alumnae from the graduating class of 1962, and the couple co-chaired the largest fundraising campaign in the college’s history – the $30 million Promise of Peace Campaign. His mother and grandmother both attended the university as well.

The 2012 commencement will be held on Saturday, May 5.

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