Campbell Law unveils exhibit featuring alumni serving on judicial benches

Photo of the Judges Wall

RALEIGH — Campbell Law School Dean J. Rich Leonard is proud to announce a new commemorative exhibit, “Judges of Campbell Law,” to honor Campbell Law School’s 142 trailblazing alumni who have earned their place on the judicial bench. 

“We are so proud of our Campbell Law alumni and their accomplishments in serving as judges throughout the state and beyond,” Leonard said. “I wanted current and prospective students to be able to visualize the sheer number of our alumni who have served on the bench. The individuals featured in our ‘Judges of Campbell Law’ exhibit are aspirational examples and embody the university’s motto of leading with purpose.”

An invitation-only event for the formal dedication of the wall honoring the featured judges is set for Oct. 7. Speakers include North Carolina Court of Appeals Chief Judge Donna Stroud ‘88, 10th Judicial District (Wake County) Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Paul Ridgeway ‘86 and Judicial District 16B (Robeson County) Chief District Court Judge Angelica McIntyre ‘13.

The exhibit is made possible through the generosity of a group of donors known as the Dean’s Twenty, Leonard said.

Extensive research in 2020, led by Leonard and two of his former Wallace Fellows — Grant Simpkins ‘19 and Reagan Warren — revealed Campbell Law School has more alumni judges serving on North Carolina benches than any other law school in the state with 62 District Court judges, 17 Superior Court judges, nine Chief District judges, 10 Senior Resident Superior judges and one Superior Court Special judge. Findings show the majority of North Carolina trial judges graduated from four law schools — Campbell, North Carolina Central University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Wake Forest University.

Notably, currently Campbell Law alumni hold five positions on the North Carolina Court of Appeals including the state’s second highest-ranking judge, Chief Judge Donna Stroud ’88. Other alumni serving on the court are Judge John M. Tyson ’79, Judge Allegra Collins ‘06, Judge Tobias (Toby) Hampson ’02 and Judge Jeffery K. Carpenter ’03.

In addition to earning their place on the bench, a number of other Campbell Law judges have made history, explained Campbell Law Research Librarian Adrienne DeWitt, who helped curate the exhibit. 

Those judges include:

  • Monty Beck ‘84: Chief Judge of Cherokee Court, the Trial Court for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians;
  • Rebecca Eggers-Gryder ‘86: First woman to be elected as president of the Watauga County Bar, the 24th Judicial District Bar, the county attorney for Watauga County, the town attorney for the town of Seven Devils, to serve as the bar councilor for the N.C. State Bar and the first woman to serve as a district court judge in the 24th Judicial District;
  • Rashad Ahmed Hauter ‘11:  The first Yemini judge in the United States;
  • Regina M. Joe ’88:  The first black female Chief Public Defender in North Carolina and the first black and first female judge of District Court 16A ;
  • Albert Kirby ‘96: The first black Superior Court judge in Sampson County’s District Court judicial district 4A;
  • Angelica Chavis McIntyre ‘13: The first Native American female chief District Court judge in the state;
  • Kathryn “Katie” Overby ‘99: The first female judge in Alamance County.
  • Imelda Pate ‘83: The first woman elected as a Superior Court judge in Lenoir County;
  • Sarah Seaton ‘85: The first female Chief District Court judge for NC’s fourth district.
  • Cheryl Spencer ‘87: The first black judge of District 3B, which is made up of Craven, Pamlico and Carteret counties;
  • Marcia Kaye Stewart ‘95: The first of two women elected to the 11th Judicial District; and
  • Albert Kirby ‘96: The first black Superior Court judge for Sampson County’s District Court judicial district 4A. 

The exhibit is part of Campbell Law’s 2021 45th anniversary celebration commemorating 45 years since the law school’s opening at Campbell University in Buies Creek and 12 years of being located in downtown Raleigh. Prior to 2009, Raleigh was one of a handful of state capitals without a law school.

“Judges of Campbell Law” is the law school’s third exhibit honoring judges and justices who have achieved great success, often against difficult odds. In 2015, Leonard paid to have the “First Ladies of the North Carolina Judiciary” exhibit, which was originally funded by the North Carolina Supreme Court Historical Society for the History Room at the Supreme Court, relocated to the law school. In 2019, Leonard commissioned the “First African Americans on the North Carolina Bench,” to honor the contributions of eight trailblazing African American men and women on the North Carolina bench, which is now touring the state through portable banners depicting the exhibit that is permanently located in the law school.

If you are a Campbell Law alumnus/na and a judge who would like to be featured on the “Judges of Campbell Law” wall and you have not been contacted, please reach out to Faculty Administrative Assistant Sharon Sparks at


Since its founding in 1976, Campbell Law has developed lawyers who possess moral conviction, social compassion, and professional competence, and who view the law as a calling to serve others. Among its accolades, the school has been recognized by the American Bar Association (ABA) as having the nation’s top Professionalism Program and by the American Academy of Trial Lawyers for having the nation’s best Trial Advocacy Program. Campbell Law boasts more than 4,500 alumni, who make their home in nearly all 50 states and beyond. In 2021, Campbell Law is celebrating 45 years of graduating legal leaders and 12 years of being located in a state-of-the-art facility in the heart of North Carolina’s Capital City.




Kerry Branon and Lisa Snedeker Writers

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