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“A Conversation with Justice Rudolph Hargrave,” the newly retired justice of the Oklahoma Supreme Court, will be featured in the 2011 Lou Watkins Endowed Lectureship Tuesday [JAN. 25] at East Central University.

Hargrave’s first public address since retiring from the bench last December will begin at 7 p.m. in the Ataloa Theatre in the Hallie Brown Ford Fine Arts Center. He will be introduced and interviewed during the program by John Williams, executive director of the Oklahoma Bar Association and a graduate of ECU.

Photo of Justice Rudolph Hargrave

The lectureship, which honors Lou Watkins, former chair of ECU’s political science department, brings recognized authorities to ECU to address subjects of public interest at the local, state or national level. It is funded by interest earned from the endowment through the ECU Foundation Inc.

Hargrave was appointed to the Oklahoma Supreme Court by Gov. David Boren on Oct. 10, 1978, and was retained by voters for five six-year terms from 1980 through 2010, when he decided to retire.

He was elected chief justice of the court in 1989 and in 2001. During his first term as chief justice, Hargrave was elected vice president of the National Conference of Chief Justices. He is the only Oklahoma Supreme Court justice to serve in that position.

Hargrave met his wife, Madeline, while both were students at ECU. They live in Wewoka.

After completing a law degree from the University of Oklahoma in 1949, he worked in private law practice in Wewoka until 1964. His public career began that year when he became county judge for Seminole County. He served as Seminole County Superior Court judge from 1967 to 1969, and as Seminole County district judge from 1969 to 1978. He also served as chief judge for Administrative Zone Number 3.

Hargrave, who received ECU’s Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1989, is a member of the American, Oklahoma and Seminole County bar associations and the Oklahoma Judicial Conference.

The Hargraves are members of the First United Methodist Church in Wewoka. They have three children, Cindy Keefer of Ada, ECU President John R. Hargrave and Jana Howard of Ardmore.

Lou Watkins taught at ECU from 1980 until she and her husband, former U.S. Rep. Wes Watkins, moved from Ada in 1991. She became chair of ECU’s political science department in 1985. She is president of World Export Services Inc. in Stillwater and is a member of the Board of Regents for the Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical Colleges.

 For more information about the Watkins Endowed Lectureship, contact Dr. Christine Pappas at 559-5640.

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