Baylor Law School will hold its spring commencement ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 30, at First Baptist Church, Waco. The Honorable Ken Starr, president of Baylor University and the Louise L. Morrison Professor of Constitutional Law, will deliver the commencement address. In addition, Andrew Wade Guthrie, the highest ranking student in the graduating class, will deliver student remarks.
Starr and Baylor Law School Dean Brad Toben also will participate in the program and will award juris doctor degrees to the 58 graduates.
Becoming Baylor’s 14th president on June 1, 2010, Starr has had a distinguished career in academia, the law and public service. Prior to coming to Baylor, he served for six years as the Duane and Kelly Roberts Dean and Professor of Law at Pepperdine, where he taught current constitutional issues and civil procedure. He also is of counsel to the law firm of Kirkland & Ellis LLP, where he was a partner from 1993 to 2004, specializing in appellate work, antitrust, federal courts, federal jurisdiction and constitutional law.
As Solicitor General of the United States from 1989 to 1993, Starr argued 36 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. He also served as United States Circuit Judge for the District of Columbia Circuit from 1983 to 1989, as law clerk to Chief Justice Warren E. Burger from 1975 to 1977 and as law clerk to Fifth Circuit Judge David W. Dyer from 1973 to 1974. Starr was appointed to serve as Independent Counsel for five investigations, including Whitewater, from 1994 to 1999.
Starr previously taught constitutional law as an adjunct professor at New York University School of Law and was a distinguished visiting professor at George Mason University School of Law and Chapman Law School. After graduating from San Antonio's Sam Houston High School, he earned his B.A. from George Washington University in 1968, his M.A. from Brown University in 1969 and his J.D. degree from Duke University Law School in 1973. He is admitted to practice in California, the District of Columbia, Virginia and the U.S. Supreme Court.
He is the author of more than 25 publications, and his book, First Among Equals: The Supreme Court in American Life, published in 2002, was praised by U.S. Circuit Judge David B. Sentelle as "eminently readable and informative...not just the best treatment to-date of the Court after (Chief Justice Earl) Warren, it is likely to have that distinction for a long, long time."
He has received a multitude of honors and awards, including the J. Reuben Clark Law Society 2005 Distinguished Service Award, the 2004 Capital Book Award, the Jefferson Cup award from the FBI, the Edmund Randolph Award for Outstanding Service in the Department of Justice and the Attorney General's Award for Distinguished Service.
Starr was born on July 21, 1946, in Vernon, Texas, and was raised in San Antonio. He and his wife Alice have three children and four grandchildren. The Starrs made their home in Malibu, Calif., from 2004 to 2010, and lived in McLean, Va., from 1978 to 2004. He has volunteered many hours teaching in the inner city and assisting disadvantaged students with summer internships, after-school programs and guidance for financing a college education.
Assisting Starr and Toben in awarding degrees during the commencement program will be Leah W. Jackson, professor of law and associate dean.
Hooding the graduates will be David Guinn, The Lyndon L. Olson and William A. Olson Professor of Local Government and Constitutional Law and Master Teacher, and Gerald Powell, The Abner V. McCall Professor of Evidence and Master Teacher. Bryan Thomas Bufkin, who will receive his law degree during commencement, will deliver the invocation.
A reception for graduates and their guests will take place immediately after commencement at the Sheila and Walter Umphrey Law Center.