Baylor Law Grad's Investiture Set For Feb. 3 in Austin

Jan. 24, 2006
News Photo 3343Justice Priscilla Owen

by Alan Hunt, (254) 710-6271

A program at the Austin Convention Center on Friday, Feb. 3, will mark the formal investiture of Baylor law graduate and former Waco resident Justice Priscilla Owen to the bench of the New Orleans-based Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Baylor student Keron Jackson, a music major, will sing during the 3 p.m. investiture program, and a number of faculty, staff and friends of Justice Owen from Baylor Law School, led by Dean Brad Toben, are planning to attend.

Justice Owen, who was born in Palacios and raised in Waco, received her bachelor of arts degree cum laude from Baylor in 1976 and graduated in the top of her class from Baylor Law School in 1977. She has been honored as a Baylor Young Lawyer of the Year and as a Baylor Outstanding Young Alumna. On Jan. 20 this year, she received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Baylor Alumni Association, the organization's highest honor.

Elected to the Supreme Court of Texas in 1994, and re-elected in 2000, Justice Owen previously served as a partner in the Houston law firm of Andrews & Kurth L.L.P., where she practiced commercial litigation for 17 years.

Nominated by President Bush for the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, she was confirmed by the Senate in May last year and took the oath of office for her new seat on June 6, 2005.

Justice Owen asked Jackson to sing at the investiture after she heard him perform a solo at the recent funeral of fellow Baylor law graduate and respected Waco jurist, Judge Bill Logue, who passed away Oct. 12, 2005, at the age of 81.

Jackson described in a recent article he wrote for the Baylor Magazine how he had tried to make ends meet as a struggling 21-year-old musical actor in Dallas-Fort Worth, often being forced to sleep in his car or to stay with friends or relatives when he could. Later, he enrolled in Panola College, Carthage, Texas, and transferred to Baylor last fall as a music major.

"God has given me a voice to sing," he wrote in the article. "I understand that it is a gift to be able to sing, and I'm thankful for it."

In a telephone interview, the 24-year-old Kansas City, Kan., native said he felt "privileged" to be able to sing at Justice Owen's investiture. He said he will sing "God Bless America" and the National Anthem during the program. "She called me personally and it was a great honor to be asked," said Jackson.

On Saturday, Feb. 4, the day following the investiture program, Justice Owen will present the keynote address at Baylor Law School's commencement ceremony in Waco Hall. Twenty-four graduates will receive law degrees during the 10 a.m. program, which will be followed by a reception at the Sheila and Walter Umphrey Law Center.

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