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Kristin Murphy, Deseret News
Justice Christine M. Durham leaves the Utah Supreme Courtroom after her retirement celebration at the Scott M. Matheson Courthouse in Salt Lake City on Monday, Nov. 13, 2017.

SALT LAKE CITY — Christine M. Durham, the first woman appointed to the Utah Supreme Court and to serve as its chief justice, will address Westminster College's 2018 graduating class, the college has announced.

Durham will address the graduates during commencement ceremonies May 12 at 9:45 a.m. at the Maverik Center in West Valley City.

Durham, who retired from the court in 2017 after 35 years, served a decade as chief justice and led the Utah Judicial Council. She was appointed to the Utah Supreme Court by Gov. Scott M. Matheson in 1982.

Prior to serving on the Utah Supreme Court, she served four years as a 3rd District Court judge, one as presiding judge. She has also worked in academia and in private law practice before she was appointed to the bench in 1978.

Durham co-founded Women Lawyers of Utah and was a founding member and president of the National Association of Women Judges. She taught law for many years and served on the Duke University board of trustees for 14 years.

"Christine Durham is an inspirational leader and trailblazer, and we are very pleased to host her as our 2018 commencement speaker," said Westminster College President Stephen Morgan.

"Her dedication to gender equality, diversity and inclusion are all core values of a Westminster education. We look forward to her sharing her experiences and advice with our graduates."

Durham is also an emeritus member of the Council of the American Law Institute, a past president of the Conference of Chief Justices of the United States and past chair of the American Bar Association's Council on Legal Education, the entity that accredits American law schools.

Durham currently serves on the board of overseers for the RAND Institute for Civil Justice and co-chairs Utah Center for Legal Inclusion and the Coordinating Committee for Access to Justice. She is also a trustee for University of the People, an accredited, tuition-free, online institution for higher education.

She earned her undergraduate degree at Wellesley College and is a graduate of the Duke University School of Law. She relocated to Utah with her husband, George, in 1973. They are the parents of five children.

Durham will receive an honorary degree from Westminster, along with Utah entrepreneur David Simmons and banking executive Patricia Richards.

Simmons has been recognized for his entrepreneurial success in the media, communications and travel-management industries, in addition to his involvement in a variety of community organizations over his 40-year career.

Currently, Simmons is chairman of Morris Murdock Travel, a travel-management company based in Utah. His past positions include CEO of Simmons Media Group and chairman and CEO of Keystone Communications.

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He has spent nearly two decades as a member of Westminster College's board of trustees and currently serves on the board of Western Governor's University.

Richards has held various executive positions at First Security Bank and Wells Fargo Bank, retiring as senior vice president and senior regional manager of Wells Fargo's Wealth Management Group. She has led the boards of the Utah Symphony/Utah Opera, United Way of Salt Lake and the Salt Lake Chamber.

She has also served on the boards of Westminster College, Utah Bankers Association and Governor's Economic Council.