EUREKA — Retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor will be honored this spring by the alma mater of the president who named her as the first woman on the nation’s highest court.
Eureka College will name O’Connor as an honorary Ronald Reagan fellow at an academic convocation April 9 on campus.
The time of the convocation has not been set.
The public will be able to obtain free tickets beginning in March.
The motto of the Ronald W. Reagan Leadership Program is “to lead and serve,” explained Eureka President David Arnold, and those selected as honorary fellows are expected to demonstrate the qualities of “servant leadership.” Reagan graduated from Eureka in 1932.
O’Connor is the fifth person to be named an honorary fellow.
“She exemplifies all the requirements for the award,” Arnold said. “Her record is just outstanding.”
Named to the Supreme Court by Reagan in 1981, O’Connor retired from that position in 2006 after 25 years.
Known as a leader on the court, she was a key swing vote in close cases, especially during her later years.
After stepping down from the court, O’Connor, 82, has remained active in civic affairs, particularly in relation to education and the Constitution.
O’Connor founded and heads iCivics, an online program for middle school students that promotes civic education and involvement.
She also is co-chairwoman of the national advisory council of the Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools and serves on the boards of the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia and the Rockefeller Foundation.
President Barack Obama presented her with the Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the United States, in 2009.
In addition to the academic convocation, O’Connor will attend a dinner open to members of the Ronald W. Reagan Society at Eureka College. Information about members in the society is available from its director, John Morris, at 309-467-6477 or jmorris