Arkansan Speaks at Sewanee, Receives Honorary Doctorate

Robert Brown and Bishop Benfield at Sewanee's Founders' Day, 2013.

Robert Brown and Bishop Benfield at Sewanee’s Founders’ Day, 2013.

Robert L. Brown, former associate justice on the Arkansas Supreme Court, delivered the Founders’ Day address at Sewanee last Friday, Oct. 11, and received an honorary Doctor of Civil Law during the special Convocation.

As a long-time justice on the Supreme Court of Arkansas, Brown’s landmark decisions included the term-limits decision for U.S. representatives and senators, which was affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1996, and a decision ruling Arkansas’ public school funding inadequate and unfair. He has also worked as a prosecuting attorney, legal aide to the governor, and legislative assistant to a U.S. senator. He is the author of Defining Moments: Historic Decisions by Arkansas Governors from McMath through Huckabee and Second Crisis of Little Rock: A Report on Desegregation within the Public Schools. Brown is currently “of counsel” with Friday, Eldredge & Clark, LLP.

Honorary degrees were also conferred upon Henry Louis “Skip” Gates Jr., the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor at Harvard University and director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research, and the Rev. Becca Stevens, chaplain at St. Augustine’s Episcopal Chapel at Vanderbilt University and the founder of Magdalene and Thistle Farms.