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2013 Honorary Degree Recipients

Roderick L. Ireland
Chief Justice Ireland

Roderick L. Ireland

Doctor of Laws (Honoris Causa)


Roderick L. Ireland is the chief justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. He began his legal career in 1969 as a Neighborhood Legal Services attorney, then worked as a public defender with the Roxbury Defenders Committee, as chief attorney, deputy director, and executive director.  He was assistant secretary and chief legal counsel for the Massachusetts Executive Office of Administration and Finance, and chair of the Massachusetts Board of Appeals on Motor Vehicle Liability Policies and Bonds.

Chief Justice Ireland has been a jurist for more than 35 years, serving as a judge of the Juvenile Court from 1977 to 1990, after which he was appointed an associate justice of the Massachusetts Appeals Court.  He was first appointed as an associate justice of the Supreme Judicial Court in 1997, and became the senior associate justice in 2008. In 2010, he was appointed as the 36th chief justice. The author of a two-volume treatise on Massachusetts Juvenile Law published by Thomson West Publishing, he is a faculty member at Northeastern University and the Appellate Judges Seminar at New York University Law School. When he was appointed to the Supreme Judicial Court in 1997, he was the first African-American justice in its then 305-year histor