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Tennessee state judge to give keynote address at APSU Spring Commencement

The first black state judge serving Tennessees Eastern Section – and an alumnus of Austin Peay State University – will be the keynote speaker at APSUs 81st Spring Commencement on Friday, May 7.

The Hon. John W. McClarty (71) will speak at both ceremonies, the first at 10 a.m. and the second at 2 p.m. Both events will be held in the Dunn Center.
The first black state judge serving Tennessee's Eastern Section — and an alumnus of Austin Peay State University — will be the keynote speaker at APSU's 81st Spring Commencement on Friday, May 7.

The Hon. John W. McClarty ('71) will speak at both ceremonies, the first at 10 a.m. and the second at 2 p.m. Both events will be held in the Dunn Center.

A native and resident of Chattanooga, McClarty was appointed Jan. 14, 2009, by Gov. Phil Bredesen to the position of judge of the Tennessee Court of Appeals Eastern Section. In March, the Judicial Performance Commission unanimously recommended to retain McClarty, a former Hamilton County Juvenile Court referee, on the state appellate bench.

During his 32-year law career, McClarty has tried numerous nonjury and jury criminal trials in the municipal, sessions, juvenile and criminal courts of Hamilton County and the surrounding area. He has handled million-dollar litigations throughout his career as well.

After graduating from Howard High School in Chattanooga in 1967, McClarty enrolled at APSU and four years later earned a bachelor's degree with double majors in political science and history.

From 1971-73, McClarty served in the U.S. Army 3rd Infantry Division in the training office on the general's staff. He received the Army's Good Conduct Medal and the Army's Commendation Medal.

He later received a Juris Doctor degree with honors from Southern University School of Law, ranking No. 5 in the Class of 1976. He also has attended the National College of Criminal Defense Lawyers and Public Defenders.

Following completion of law school, McClarty entered private practice as an associate in the law offices of Jerry H. Summers. In 1978, he opened his own office as John W. McClarty, Attorney at Law. He then entered into a partnership with Walter F. Williams and served as senior partner in the law office of McClarty and Williams from 1980 until 1991, when Williams was elected city judge of Chattanooga. He then completed his years of practice in the office of John W. McClarty and Associates.

In addition to having a judgeship, McClarty is an associate pastor of Warren Chapel A.M.E. Church. -- Melony Shemberger