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Alumnus and renowned circuit court judge to speak at APSU

9/24/2001
September 25, 2001

Those who watched the confirmation hearings for United States Attorney General John Ashcroft will remember the powerful testimony of the Hon. David Mason, Saint Louis, who spoke on his friend's behalf.

Mason, an Austin Peay alumnus and judge for the 22nd Judicial Circuit, Missouri Circuit Court, returns to his alma mater Oct. 1 to share his knowledge and expertise with students, faculty and the general public. Mason's day-in-residence is one of APSU's 75th Anniversary activities.

A 1980 graduate of APSU and a 1983 graduate of Washington University School of Law in Saint Louis, Mason was appointed a circuit judge in August 1991 at the relatively young age of 35. He presides over major civil and criminal trials.

Prior to his appointment to the bench, he litigated more than 100 trial and appellate cases while serving as Assistant Attorney General of Missouri, General Counsel to the Missouri Department of Corrections and as a trial lawyer with two major Saint Louis law firms. For 11 years, Mason has taught as adjunct professor at Washington University's School of Law. And he served on the faculty of the Yeshiva University, Benjamin Cardozo School of Law Intensive Trial program in New York City during 1994-96 and 2001.

In 1992 Mason became the first recipient of Austin Peay's Outstanding Young Alumnus Award and that May gave APSU's Commencement address. In 1999 Washington University School of Law tapped Mason as the first recipient of that prestigious school's Distinguished Young Alumnus Award.

Active in civic organizations, Mason received the Thomas D. Cochran Award for community service from the Missouri Bar in 1991. He served as commissioner for the Saint Louis Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority in 1990-91, and in 1990 he was named to the Governor's Task Force on the Kansas City School District, Confluence Saint Louis. In 1996, he was elected to the American Law Institute and served on the Consultative Group for the third Restatement of the Law Torts; Products Liability.

Since 1996 he has been a member of the national Board of Directors of the American Judicature Society. In 1997 he was elected an honorary member of the Order of the Coif. He has written numerous articles for law journals and given countless talks to professional organizations, both nationally and internationally. In 1999, he gave the keynote address for both the Natural law and Crime Prevention Conference, Washington, D.C., and the Annual Conference of Prison Officials of the Nation of Trinidad and Tobago.

He has toured Australia, speaking to judges, prosecutors, lawyers and political leaders on the success of a sentencing project that he launched, which helps offenders alleviate the stress that prompts criminal behavior. Last October, he addressed the 2000 Health, Safety and Environment Trade Fair Congress in Curacao, Netherlands Antilles.

While a student at Washington University School of Law, he was the champion of the American College of Trial Lawyers National Trial Competition in 1983 and received the Lewis F. Powell Medal for Advocacy in 1982 and 1983. He was the Phi Delta Phi Midwest Graduate of the Year and was inducted as an honorary member into the American Board of Trial Advocates. Mason received 10 Awards of Merit from the American College of Trial Lawyers for his work with trial teams.

As an undergraduate at APSU where he served as president of the Student Government Association and Governor of the Tennessee Intercollegiate State legislature (TISL) in 1978-79, Mason's outstanding leadership abilities surfaced strongly. He received the Wilbur Daniels Award as the Most Outstanding Black Senior in 1980.

He distinguished himself and APSU by winning 40 debate and speaking awards, including the state, regional and national championships.

On Monday, Oct. 1, in addition to teaching two American Government classes during the day, Mason will meet with members of the President's Emerging Leaders Program and Student Government Association during a dinner discussion that evening.

The general public, as well as the University community, is invited to join Mason at 3 p.m. in Gentry Auditorium, Kimbrough Building, for a discussion on leadership and the law. Attorneys, judges and anyone interested in entering the field of law are encouraged to attend. The talk is free and open to all.

For more information, telephone Dennie Burke at 7459.