Jurist Margaret H. Marshall named Senior Fellow of Yale Corporation

The Yale Corporation, the governing board of the University, has chosen Margaret H. Marshall as its next Senior Fellow, beginning July 1. The appointment of Marshall, the first woman to serve as Chief Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, marks many firsts.

The Yale Corporation, the governing board of the University, has chosen Margaret H. Marshall as its next Senior Fellow, beginning July 1.

Margaret H. Marshall

Marshall’s appointment marks many firsts. She was the first woman to serve as Chief Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, and will be the first woman Yale Senior Fellow. She is a graduate of the Yale Law School, earning her J.D. degree in 1976; her predecessor Senior Fellows all held degrees from Yale College. A South African native, she is also the first Senior Fellow born outside the United States. Marshall became a United States citizen in 1977.

Under the University charter, the Senior Fellow of the Yale Corporation presides in the absence of the President and, with the President, is jointly responsible for setting the Corporation’s agenda and appointing its committees.

Marshall succeeds Edward P. Bass, who will retire from the Corporation in June, having served as a trustee since 2001 and as Senior Fellow since June 2011. Bass said of his successor, “I have the highest regard for Margie’s wisdom, judgment, and exceptional skills in working with people. It is gratifying to know that such an able and effective individual will be at our new president’s side to help guide Yale through the challenges and opportunities of the years ahead.”

Marshall is currently serving her second term on the Yale Corporation; she was elected to a six-year term as an alumni fellow in 2004 and was appointed as a successor trustee in September 2012. “Yale has benefited immensely from Margaret Marshall’s wise counsel and impeccable judgment, both as a fellow of the Corporation and between her terms of service in 2011 when she headed the Advisory Committee on Campus Climate,” said President Richard C. Levin. “She is an extraordinary person and an inspiring role model. Her selection as Senior Fellow ensures that President-elect Salovey will have a steady and dependable partner in the years ahead.”

During her 14 years on the Supreme Judicial Court, Marshall wrote more than 300 opinions, many of them landmark decisions. The 2003 decision in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, which she authored, declared that the Massachusetts Constitution prohibits the state from denying same-sex couples access to civil marriage; the decision made Massachusetts the first state in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage. President-elect Peter Salovey said, “Through the years Margaret Marshall has been a pioneering and thoughtful jurist, and an outstanding citizen of Yale. I look forward to working closely with her and drawing upon her wisdom.”

Marshall holds a B.A. from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg and a master’s degree in education from Harvard, Following her graduation from the Yale Law School, she practiced law for 16 years and became a partner in the Boston firm of Choate, Hall & Stewart. Marshall was Vice President and General Counsel of Harvard University from 1992 to 1996. She currently serves as senior counsel at Choate Hall & Stewart and is a senior research fellow at Harvard Law School.

Marshall has served as president of the Boston Bar Association, president of the United States Conference of Chief Justices, and chair of the board of the National Center for State Courts. She chaired Yale’s Advisory Committee on Campus Climate, which focused on the University’s efforts to prevent and respond to sexual misconduct.

Two of Marshall’s grandchildren are graduates of Yale College. She was married for nearly 30 years to the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist of The New York Times, Anthony Lewis, who passed away in March.

She received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Yale in 2012. Hear her give advice to Yale graduates on that occasion.

The Yale Corporation

The Yale Corporation is the governing board and policy-making body for Yale University. The Corporation has 19 members: the president of the University; 10 successor trustees, who elect their own successors for up to two six-year terms; six alumni fellows, who are elected by the alumni for staggered six-year terms; and the governor and lieutenant governor of the State of Connecticut, who are ex officio members.

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Tom Conroy: tom.conroy@yale.edu, 203-432-1345