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U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson enjoyed the campus route her mother Ellery Brown ’67 walked during a special tour of Tuskegee University and left those who met her with a genuineness not often found with dignitaries of her caliber.
Flanked by a half-dozen members of a security detail, the Justice graciously met with President Charlotte P. Morris and toured the campus, taking photos at the Monument on campus while engaging faculty and staff for photos. Prior to arriving on campus, the Justice spoke in Birmingham during a ceremony that marked the 60th anniversary of the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church on Sept. 15, 1963, where four little girls perished.
“We are so honored that Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson made time in her schedule to visit Tuskegee,” said Dr. Morris. “The university has hosted at least four sitting U.S. presidents. It was our pleasure to be able to host the first African American woman Justice and this celebrated daughter of an alumna.”
Justice Brown-Jackson’s mother was a biology major while at Tuskegee. The Justice met with Dr. Olga Bolden-Tiller, Dean of the College of Agriculture, Environment and Nutrition Sciences, Dr. Ruby Perry, Dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine, and Dr. Heshmat Aglan, Dean of the College of Engineering.
“Justice Jackson shared that she specifically came to the TU campus to visit her Mom’s stomping grounds,” said Dr. Bolden-Tiller. “I was excited to share our space in Henderson Hall with her and how it impacts students across STEM. She was eager to take a peek inside the auditorium and labs. Dignitaries come and go, but as an African-American woman myself, meeting another African-American woman who has ascended to the top of her field was magnificent and the opportunity to share this visit with members of the CAENS family was invaluable.”
Dr. Perry said meeting her created “an overwhelming feeling of deep respect, inspiration and humility. It was a teachable moment to share the legacy of Tuskegee University, which has educated 70% of African American veterinarians in the U.S. and made significant medical impacts on animal and human health.”
Dr. Aglan said he showed the Justice a 3D engineering lab where students from different engineering majors design, build and fly drones.
“Justice Brown-Jackson is probably the most down-to-earth dignitary I have ever met,” he said. “She is a great role model and made me feel that I have known her for a long time.”
Dr. Morris agrees. “While we enjoyed a short visit with the Justice, we are hopeful that she will return to campus and spend more time with our students. Her brilliance, strength and perseverance are attributes that inspire our students. We are ever grateful for her time and engagement.”
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