Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor will speak tonight at Goucher College to inaugurate a new ethics and leadership program that was funded by a $2 million gift to the school.
The donation was made by the family of the late Roxana Cannon Arsht, who graduated from Goucher in 1935 and went on to become Delaware's first woman judge.
The money will pay for a visiting scholar program in which academics from various fields will teach and lecture about ethics and leadership for up to two years. Goucher also will hold an ethics conference every other year.
"Ethics was something that was very important to her," said Arsht's daughter, Adrienne Arsht of Miami. "And she always spoke very fondly of Goucher."
Arsht, who grew up in Wilmington, Del., enrolled at Goucher in 1931 when she was 16. She studied chemistry and math and after graduation enrolled in the University of Pennsylvania Law School and passed the state bar in 1941.
But she could not find a job in the law after graduation. Many firms were reluctant to hire her, her daughter said, because she was married to a prominent Wilmington lawyer and because she was a woman.
Instead, Arsht volunteered as a master with Delaware's Family Court system in 1962, where she heard juvenile cases two days a week. She was appointed to the bench 10 years later and served as a Family Court judge.
She met O'Connor, a state judge at the time, in the late 1970s at a conference in Arizona. The two became friends and kept in touch until Arsht's death in 2003, her daughter said.
O'Connor will speak at 8 p.m. in Kraushaar Auditorium on the campus in Towson. The event is free but tickets must be reserved in advance by calling 410-337-6333.