Prominent Civil Rights Attorney to Speak at McDaniel College's 2015 Commencement on Saturday, May 23

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Victor McTeer, a 1969 alumnus of the college, became the first black Mississippi lawyer since the Reconstruction period to argue a case before the United States Supreme Court, which he won.

McTeer became the first black Mississippi lawyer since the Reconstruction period to argue a case before the United States Supreme Court, which he won.

Prominent civil rights attorney Victor McTeer will speak at McDaniel College's 145th Commencement on Saturday, May 23, 2 p.m., in the college's Gill Center. A native of Baltimore, he is a 1969 alumnus and one of the college's first African-American graduates.

At the age of 25, McTeer became the first black Mississippi lawyer since the Reconstruction period to argue a case before the United States Supreme Court, which he won. After successfully acquiring lower federal court injunctions barring a school district from firing two qualified women from teaching because they bore children out of wedlock as teenagers, McTeer successfully defended the women before the nation’s highest court.

Throughout his legal career, McTeer was hired by plaintiffs and defendants in some of the largest and most controversial decisions, settlements and jury verdicts in the United States in cases involving civil rights, product liability, medical negligence, bad-faith claims against insurers, defamation, insurance defense and corporate commercial disputes.

In 1985, his clients won a first-ever federal jury verdict against the Ku Klux Klan for injuries sustained by five black women after Klansmen shot them on the streets of Chattanooga, Tenn. He also became one of the first African-American lawyers to handle state bonds as well as handle corporate, insurance defense and commercial litigation before trial juries in Mississippi.

Additionally, he was a member of the Mississippi legal team that gained the first-ever money settlement from tobacco companies for cigarette-related illness. He was selected for that team in part because years earlier, he joined the plaintiff legal team that handled the Mississippi case immortalized by John Grisham in his book, “The Runaway Jury.”

Now retired, McTeer is following his lifelong passion of photography and spends time in both Key West, Fla., and Greenville, Miss. He was elected to the Board of Trustees at McDaniel in 2013. Additional information about Victor McTeer can be found at http://www.McDaniel.edu/TrusteeVictorMcTeer.

More than 600 undergraduate and graduate awards are to be awarded at McDaniel College's 145th Commencement. Special undergraduate and graduate student awards are also presented, with award winners not revealed until the commencement ceremony. Visit http://www.McDaniel.edu/Commencement for more information about McDaniel's Commencement. Visit http://www.McDaniel.edu/information/media-center/downloads to download commencement speaker Victor McTeer’s headshot, as well as select photos from past McDaniel commencement ceremonies.

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McDaniel College, recognized nationally among “40 Colleges that Change Lives” and U.S. News top-tier liberal arts colleges, is a four-year private college of the liberal arts and sciences offering more than 70 undergraduate programs of study, including dual and student-designed majors, plus 25 highly regarded graduate programs. Its hallmark faculty-student collaborations in research, teaching and mentoring plus hundreds of leadership and service opportunities enrich a lively learning experience that is rooted in a personalized interdisciplinary and global curriculum. Innovative January courses take students to points all over the world while McDaniel’s degree-granting European campus offers a unique opportunity for international study at the only American university in Budapest, Hungary. A diverse and close-knit community of 1,600 undergraduates and 1,560 part-time graduate students, McDaniel also boasts a spectacular 160-acre hilltop campus in Westminster, Md., an hour or less from Baltimore, D.C., the Chesapeake Bay, an Amtrak station and BWI international airport.

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Cheryl Knauer
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since: 02/2009
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