Huntington attorney named founding director of Simon Perry Center for Constitutional Democracy


HUNTINGTON – A Huntington attorney and Marshall University alumna was recently named founding director of the Simon Perry Center for Constitutional Democracy at Marshall.

Patricia Proctor, who will continue to practice law part-time, said she was ready for a new challenge and she was happy to be able to get the chance to be a part of the program and back at Marshall.

"I am honored to be associated with the center," Proctor said. "Dr. Perry made many important developments for the university, and it's great that the program has been named after him."

Proctor said she had once been one of Perry's students when she went to Marshall.

The center is a new interdisciplinary academic program that honors the service of Perry, who taught Political Science at Marshall for more than 40 years until his retirement in 2010.

The center promotes the teaching and original research regarding the formation and evolution of the Constitution, and examines its importance in contemporary legal, political, civil and cultural matters.

Proctor said they want to provide a service to the community, starting with the center's lecture series, which includes three lectures on constitutional democracy on Sept. 1, Oct. 11, and Nov. 17.

"We want to bring in speakers from all over the country to discuss law, as well as other topics," Proctor said. "The lectures are free and we welcome the public to attend these community events. We hope to continue to lecture series in the future after the initial three lectures."

Proctor will also be teaching as part of her new position at the center.

"I've always wanted to teach, and I previously taught as an adjunct professor at Marshall," Proctor said. "It's a big reason why I took this job. I've practiced law for 20 years and during that time I trained a lot of lawyers -- both in the classroom and in the real world."

Proctor said she wanted to be involved with the center and her goal, as well as the center's goal, is to make sure students are well-prepared to get into the best law school for them.

"Our goal is to inform students and to create enlightened citizens," Proctor said. "They take classes in history, English, philosophy and political science to emphasize how the Constitution deals with our daily life."

Dr. David J. Pittenger, dean of Marshall's College of Library Arts, said Proctor embodies all of the ideals and perspectives that will make the center a success.

"She has a deep knowledge of the law, the Constitution, American history and the American political process," Pittenger said.

Proctor graduated from Marshall University in 1984, where she was editor-in-chief of The Parthenon. She obtained her law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1991, where she was senior editor of the Journal of International Law. She continued to practice law in Pennsylvania for 13 years before returning to Huntington seven years ago.

Proctor assumed her duties as the founding director on Aug. 15.

The Lecture Series on Constitutional Democracy begins Sept. 1 at 7 p.m. in the Don Morris Room at Marshall University with Dr. Jean Edward Smith of Columbia University. The lecture is titled "John Marshall and the Legalization of the Constitution."

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