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The Gordon School

Coffee with Chief Judge McConnell

Talking race and criminal justice reform in public forum

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On Friday, January 22nd, the Honorable John James McConnell Jr., Chief Judge, U.S. District Court for Rhode Island joined Head of School Dr. Noni Thomas López to discuss leadership, the national and local justice system and the current moment in history.

Chief Judge McConnell was nominated to his current position by Barack Obama in 2011, after nearly thirty years in private practice that included work seeking justice for victims of lead paint poisoning and other cases that have had historic impacts on the people of Rhode Island.

The parent of three Gordon alumni, Chief Judge McConnell continues to volunteer with the seventh grade team, working with students during their study of the judiciary branch of the US government.

The conversation was free and open to the public, with opportunities for a lively question-and-answer exchange with the audience.

Coffees with Claire is an ongoing series of talks with various members of the Gordon community curated by Claire Phipps, Gordon’s Chief Advancement and Experience Officer. Coffees with Claire is an opportunity to highlight voices in the Gordon community with unique expertise and experiences to share. Previous coffees have included historians, nonprofit professionals, educators and entrepreneurs, and are archived at

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