On Thursday [Oct. 12], the chief justice of the Mississippi Supreme Court helps launch the 2000-01 Morris W. Collins Speaker Series at Mississippi State University.
Justice Lenore L. Prather of Columbus, the first woman to be named to the state's highest court, will be featured at the 3 p.m. public program in the John Grisham Room of Mitchell Memorial Library. Following a presentation titled "My Life and the Law," Prather will answer questions from the audience.
Named for the first executive director of MSU's John C. Stennis Institute of Government, the Collins Speaker Series was created earlier this year to expand public discussion of major issues. Joining the Stennis Institute as sponsors are the library's Congressional and Political Research Center and the student John C. Stennis-G.V. "Sonny" Montgomery Association.
Prather, a West Point native and 18-year Supreme Court veteran, is a graduate of Mississippi University for Women and the University of Mississippi School of Law. After a time in private practice, she was appointed West Point municipal judge in 1965.
Seven years later, Gov. John Bell Williams appointed her judge for the 14th Chancery District of Mississippi. Prather then was elected without opposition in 1974 and re-elected to full terms in 1975 and in 1982, when Gov. William Winter appointed her to the state Supreme Court. She became chief justice in 1998.
Later this month, the Collins Speaker Series will hear from the first African American elected to the Mississippi Legislature since Reconstruction. Robert G. Clark of Lexington, speaker pro tempore of the House of Representatives, will be on campus Oct. 26. As with all speakers in the series, his presentation begins at 3 p.m. in the Grisham Room.
For additional information, telephone the Stennis Institute at (662) 325-3328 or Mitchell Memorial Library at 325-0812.