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

Special to HNN Provided by Marshall University
HUNTINGTON, WV – Patricia Proctor, a Huntington attorney and Marshall University alumna, has been named founding director of the Simon Perry Center for Constitutional Democracy at Marshall. Proctor assumes her duties Aug. 15.  

The Center is a new interdisciplinary academic program that honors the lengthy service of Dr. Simon D. Perry, retired professor of Political Science, to Marshall University and its students. It 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.  

Dr. David J. Pittenger, dean of Marshall’s College of Liberal Arts, said Proctor embodies all of the ideals and perspectives that will make the Simon Perry Center a success.  

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

Pittenger said Proctor, a member of the law firm of Steptoe & Johnson since 2004, will be teaching courses, directing the university’s pre-law program, assisting with various campus and community programs and helping bring grants and private contributions to the center.  

“I am honored to be associated with the center, which is a dynamic and meaningful way of paying homage to Dr. Perry’s tremendous contributions to the university, and excited about the opportunity to help the center move forward,” Proctor said.  

Proctor earned her law degree in 1991 from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where she was a senior editor of the Journal of International Business Law. In 1984, she graduated magna cum laude from Marshall, where she was editor-in-chief of The Parthenon, the school’s daily newspaper, and was elected to Omicron Delta Kappa, the national leadership honor society.  

After graduating from law school, she spent one year as a law clerk to the Honorable Stewart Dalzell of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, assisting the judge in both civil and criminal matters.  

Upon finishing her clerkship in 1992, she joined the Philadelphia law firm of Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, where she was a partner from January 2000 until returning to West Virginia to join Steptoe & Johnson in August 2004. She concentrates her practice in complex commercial litigation and employment law, at both the trial and appellate levels.  

Proctor sits on the boards of directors of the Society of Yeager Scholars at Marshall, the Huntington Museum of Art, the West Virginia Public Broadcasting Foundation and the TEAM for West Virginia Children.  

She has taught political science at Marshall as an adjunct professor and been a citizen member of the editorial board of The Herald-Dispatch in Huntington.  

Perry, a native of Gilbert, W.Va., taught at Marshall for 48 years (1962 to 2010) and developed many of the new program’s signature courses. He said Constitutional Democracy is a perspective that studies how people as well as social and political forces shape the Constitution and its interpretation, and how the Constitution defines us as a nation.
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