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Alumna, history-making judge to speak at commencement

December 3, 2001

As is traditional, an Austin Peay alumna will deliver the Winter 2001 Commencement speech at 3 p.m., Friday, Dec. 14 in the Dave Aaron Arena of the Winfield Dunn Center.

The Hon. Mary C. Noble, Lexington, Ky., who made history as the first woman to hold the position of chief judge of the Fayette Circuit Court in its more than 200 years, will address the 420 candidates for graduation, as well as their families and friends.

Noble earned a bachelor's degree in English in 1971 and a master's degree in psychology in 1975, both from APSU. She obtained her jurisdoctorate from the University of Kentucky School of Law in 1981.

Before beginning law school at age 30, Noble taught English at Clarksville's Montgomery Central High School. Subsequently, she was a guidance counselor at Columbia Military Academy and a psychology instructor at Columbia State Community College, Columbia, Tenn.

She had a litigation practice in Mount Sterling and Lexington before becoming Domestic Relations Commissioner in Fayette County, Ky.

She was elected to the circuit bench in 1991 and was unopposed for re-election in 1999. In 1998, she was elected by her peers as chief judge of the Fayette Circuit Court--the first woman to hold this position in the court's history.

Noble is in demand as a speaker on myriad topics. She was chair of the statewide Gender Fairness in the Courts Committee. She serves on the Supreme Court Civil Rules Committee, Administrative Office of the Courts Drug Court Advisory Committee and the Juvenile Justice Advisory Board.

She chairs the Lexington-Fayette County Urban Government Crime Commission and is on the board of Chrysalis House, a residential treatment facility for women. In addition to other trial court and administrative duties, she conducts the Fayette Drug Court.

Noble's husband, Larry, is an APSU alumnus who attended APSU on a basketball scholarship and, subsequently, earned both his bachelor's and master's degrees.