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McGregor to receive public service award from YWCA
One of Arizona’s most respected and experienced judges, retired Supreme Court Chief Justice Ruth V. McGregor, will receive the 2011 Public Service Leader award from the YWCA of Maricopa County during a luncheon on Thursday, Feb. 17, at the Arizona Biltmore.
McGregor, a 1974 alumna and recently appointed Distinguished Jurist-in-Residence at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, is among 11 women, including Jennifer Barnes (Class of 1987), director of the law school’s Social Entrepreneurship and Clinical Education Program, who will be honored at the YWCA’s Tribute to Women.
“The YWCA has done so much to ensure freedom from discrimination, to work to provide justice and dignity for everyone, and to teach young girls and women to follow their dreams,” McGregor said. “I am honored to receive this award from an organization with goals that further those of our justice system.”
Dana Campbell Saylor, Chief Executive Officer of the YWCA, said McGregor has done an exemplary job of assuring citizens equal access to the courts in Arizona. Saylor believes McGregor’s commitment to justice dates back to the 1960s when she was a high-school teacher in Selma, Ala.
“I think the ‘ah-ha moment’ of justice that opened her eyes was seeing how either hatred or isolation can hurt a community, and it motivated her to become a lawyer and was the backdrop for her activities as a lawyer and a judge,” said Saylor of her fellow Iowan.
McGregor, a former clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor (ret.), is a former trial attorney and Arizona Court of Appeals Judge who joined the Arizona Supreme Court in 1998. She was chief justice from 2005 until her retirement in 2009.
At the law school, she will help lead a new program that focuses on the interplay of local, state, federal and international governance, the Project on Federalism and Separation of Powers in a Global Era, to be housed in the College’s Center for Law and Global Affairs. In addition, she will teach the Human Trafficking Seminar in spring 2011 and co-convene a conference on that topic with Justice O’Connor.
McGregor is recognized throughout the United States for her work as a state court high judge.
“To have the oversight responsibility for such a large court system is incredible,” Saylor said. “She’s also known for her great sensitivity to the treatment of women and minorities in the justice system.”
summa cum laude
and first in her class at the University of Iowa in 1964. She earned a master’s degree from the University of Iowa and taught English and Speech to high school students in Phoenix and in Alabama before attending law school at ASU, where she again graduated first in her class. McGregor also has a Master of Laws from the University of Virginia.
McGregor serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Center for the Future of Arizona and of Justice at Stake, as section delegate for the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar, and on the steering committee of the O’Connor Judicial Selection Initiative
She is a founding member of the Sandra Day O’Connor American Inn of Court, the first Inn formed in Arizona, in which she has been active for more than 20 years. She is a past president and program chair of the Inn, and has played a significant role in mentoring younger members. McGregor also served as national secretary and a member of the executive committee of the American Inns of Court Foundation.
The awards luncheon, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Arizona Biltmore, is open to the public. For information or to purchase tickets, go to
or call Chris Long at (602) 258-0990, ext. 19, or e-mail