Judge William Haynes Jr., chief U.S. District Court judge for the Middle District of Tennessee, will discuss “Social Mobility for Diverse Communities” at the 17th annual Julian Parker Lecture at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 8, in Opus Hall on the downtown Minneapolis campus of the University of St. Thomas.
The program will include a brief award ceremony for the Minnesota Alliance of Black School Educators; also, Haynes will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree from the university.
Haynes, 64, grew up in Memphis and received his bachelor’s degree in political science and history from St. Thomas in 1970. An African-American at the then mostly white college, Haynes was a popular student government leader who was nominated for the “Mr. Tommy” outstanding senior award.
He graduated from the Vanderbilt University Law School, where he rose to the top of his class and received the Bennett Douglas Bell Award for commitment “to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly” with one’s God.
After serving more than a decade with the Tennessee Attorney General’s Office, he opened a private practice. In 1984 he returned to public service as a U.S. District Court magistrate judge. In 1999, at the recommendation of Vice President Al Gore, President Bill Clinton appointed Haynes as a U.S. District Court judge for Middle Tennessee, the first African-American so chosen. In 2012 he was named chief judge.
The St. Thomas honorary degree citation praises Haynes for his “intellectual honesty, conscientious patience and profound sense of fairness.”