Contact Us

Justice Sandra Day O’Connor Receives Honorary Law Degree From University of Montana [AUDIO]

Sandra Day O'ConnorIn 1981, Sandra Day O’Connor became the first woman ever appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court by President Ronald Reagan. On Friday, September 13, 2013, she was conferred an honorary Doctorate of Laws by the University of Montana.

Justice O’Connor spent the day prior to the ceremony meeting with and talking to high school and college students, and sharing her years of experience as an attorney, a U.S. Supreme Court Justice, and an avid fly-fisherwoman. In remarks from the stage, Montana Governor Steve Bullock personally volunteered to assist Justice O’Connor anytime she wanted to go fly fishing in Big Sky Country.

Sandra Day O'Connor
Photo by Todd Goodrich

During her remarks in the George and Jane Dennison Theater on the University of Montana campus, Justice O’Connor highlighted the importance of educating the next generation about our government through civics classes, that are more and more becoming elective, rather than mandatory in public schools.

“Less that one-tenth of eighth-graders can name the three branches of government, much less say what they do,” O’Connor said. “Less than one-third of eighth-graders can identify the historical purposes of the Declaration of Independence, and it’s right there in the name,” she said to laughter from the audience.

Justice O’Connor was instrumental in helping to develop an online civics education program called I-Civics, which she said has become very popular with school children who play video games.

“Research shows that I-Civics really does increase performance on civics assessments,” O’Connor said. “What’s more, it shows that students are learning and having fun at the same time. In one study, over half of the students who were taught in class using an I-Civics game went home, and without anyone telling them to, played them again. Now, getting students to study by choice is what I call success.”

O’Connor also emphasized the importance of community service for citizens of all ages, whether it was in schools, churches, or even just participating in the voting process.

Joining Justice O’Connor on the dais were Montana Governor Steve Bullock, Montana Attorney General Tim Fox, and Chairman of the Montana Board of Regents Clayton Christian, along with University of Montana President Royce Engstrom and the outgoing Dean of the University of Montana Law School, Irma Russell.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Recommended for You

Best of the Web

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing VIP profile. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to using your original account information.

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

(Forgot your password?)

Not a member? Sign up here

Sign up for Zootown VIP quickly by connecting your Facebook account. It's just as secure and no password to remember!

Sign up to have exclusive Zootown VIP contests, events, coupons, presales, and much more delivered to you for FREE.