Alumni and Friends | University Community

OHIO graduate Judge William T. Newman Jr. to speak at Spring Commencement

Ohio University graduate Judge William T. Newman Jr. will deliver the keynote address for OHIO’s Spring 2024 Undergraduate Commencement Ceremonies on May 4.

Judge Newman served as a Judge of the Commonwealth of Virginia’s 17th Judicial Circuit covering Arlington County and the City of Falls Church from 1993 through 2023. Upon his retirement in June of 2023, Judge Newman became a certified mediator with the mediation firm the McCammon Group. He now mediates over civil matters over the entire Washington Metropolitan area. 

In addition, Judge Newman is an accomplished actor and is a member of Actor’s Equity and Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artist (SAG-AFTRA). He has appeared in numerous theatrical and cinematic productions across the United States –including New York, and the greater Washington Metropolitan Area.  

In 2022, he was awarded an Ohio University Medal of Merit Award for his outstanding achievements and he was recently informed that has been selected to become a member of the Virginia Lawyers Weekly Hall of Fame Class of 2024.

“It is a pleasure and an honor to have this opportunity to give remarks at this year’s Spring Commencement at my beloved Alma Mater,” Judge Newman said. “Ohio University was a nurturing and fun environment that sparked intellectual curiosity, taught many life lessons, and forged lifelong friendships.”

Ohio University President Lori Stewart Gonzalez said that the University is proud to welcome Judge Newman back to campus.

“We are honored to have Judge William T. Newman Jr. delivering the Commencement Address for both of our undergraduate ceremonies,” President Gonzalez said. “As an actor, a lawyer, and one of the best trial judges in our nation’s capital, according to Washinton Magazine, Judge Newman’s success serves as an inspiration to Bobcats near and far. I am grateful he has agreed to share words of wisdom with our Class of 2024.” 

Judge Newman grew up in Arlington, Virginia, and received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with honors from Ohio University in 1972.  After graduating from OHIO, he worked as an actor while saving up money for law school.

He then went on to receive his Juris Doctorate from the Catholic University’s Columbus School of Law.  From 1977 to 1980, he was Staff Trademark Attorney with the U.S. Department of Commerce.

In 1980, he entered the private practice of law and eventually became a partner in the firm of Carpenter, Newman, Martin, Berkowitz and Garnes.  In 1983, he founded the Northern Virginia Black Attorneys Association. Prior to his appointment to the bench, Judge Newman was involved in local politics.  In 1987, he was elected to the Arlington County Board, becoming the first African-American to be elected since reconstruction.  

He served as its chairman in 1991 when he was re-elected to a second term and was also elected President of the Washington Metropolitan Council of Governments.  In 1991, he also called together a group of Arlington residents and business leaders to start the Arlington Community Foundation, and in 2006 was named President Emeritus of the Foundation.

In March 1993, he was appointed a Circuit Court Judge. Judge Newman was named Chief Judge of the Circuit Court of Arlington County in 2003.

Judge Newman has been involved in a variety of civic, community, and legal activities and has received numerous honors for his service, including the NAACP Community Service Award and the Urban League Rising Star Award.  In addition, Judge Newman was named by the Washingtonian magazine as one of the Best Trial Judges in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area.

“Like John Newton Templeton before him, Judge Newman is a trailblazing leader with a lasting legacy for those who follow in his footprints,” President Gonzalez said. “We are forever grateful for his service to his alma mater.”

Ohio University’s 2024 Undergraduate Ceremonies will be held on Saturday, May 4, beginning at 9:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. in the Convocation Center on the Athens Campus.

The 2024 Graduate Commencement Ceremony will be held on Friday, May 3, beginning at 9:30 a.m. in the Convocation Center. Details on the Graduate Commencement Ceremony will be announced in the coming weeks.

For additional information on the undergraduate and graduate ceremonies, please see the Commencement website.

March 28, 2024
Staff reports