Keynote Speaker


Chief Justice
Margaret H. Marshall

Former Chief Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, Margaret H. Marshall is Senior Counsel at Choate Hall & Stewart LLP. She brings a wide range of experience to issues of higher education: lawyer, counsel, university trustee and judge. Immediately before her 1996 appointment to the Court, Chief Justice Marshall served as the Vice President and General Counsel of Harvard University. In 2004 she became a member of the Board of Trustees of Yale University, the governing board and policy-making body for the University. Until 2016 she served as its Senior Trustee, the first woman to hold that position at Yale.

Chief Justice Marshall was born and raised in South Africa, obtaining her baccalaureate from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.  While an undergraduate, she was elected President of the National Union of South African Students, an anti-apartheid organization. She came to the United States in 1968 to pursue graduate studies at Harvard. She later received her J.D. from Yale Law School (1976). Following her graduation she practiced law in Boston and became a partner in Choate, Hall & Stewart LLP, before becoming Harvard’s General Counsel.

During her tenure on the Supreme Judicial Court, Chief Justice Marshall authored several groundbreaking decisions, including Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, a ruling that made Massachusetts the first state to recognize same-sex marriage.

She is a member of the American Philosophical Society, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a member of the Council and Executive Committee of the American Law Institute. Chief Justice Marshall is the recipient of many awards and honorary degrees, including one from her undergraduate alma mater, the University of the Witwatersrand, and one from her law school alma mater, Yale University.

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