By Jennifer Duda
Kicking off a months-long tour celebrating the rich history of Illinois law, College of DuPage and Illinois state officials Sept. 21 officially launched a traveling exhibit chronicling the first 200 years of the Illinois Judiciary Branch.
The exhibit is one of several bicentennial activities sponsored by the Illinois Supreme Court Historic Preservation Commission to commemorate 200 years of the Illinois Judiciary Branch and showcase the contributions of the legal community to the history of Illinois.
Following an opening reception, College of DuPage President Dr. Ann Rondeau, Illinois Supreme Court Justice Robert R. Thomas, Supreme Court Historic Preservation Commissioner Kirk Dillard and other local officials held a ribbon cutting for the exhibit, which will remain on display through Friday, Oct. 26, in the College’s Student Service Center on the Glen Ellyn campus, 425 Fawell Blvd. View photos from the event. View a video from the event.
“We are pleased to have been chosen for the debut of this exhibit, which highlights the evolution of Illinois’ judicial system and its impact on the evolution of the state itself,” Dr. Rondeau said. “The College continues to help build upon that history with strong academic programming in the areas of Paralegal Studies and Criminal and Social Justice. I hope this exhibit inspires not only our students, but community members and others who visit us to learn more about the beginnings of our great state.”
Among the exhibit is information on the how the court system operates and a general history of the judiciary’s first 200 years. Highlights include Block v. City of Chicago, which involved the first movie censorship laws, as well as lawyer Ferdinand Barnett, one of the first African American attorneys licensed in Illinois.
Justice Thomas expressed his excitement at being able to debut the exhibit at the College, which resides in his district.
“This exhibit presents a rare opportunity for the public to look behind the scenes of our legal system, and to see the important role that the law and the courts have played throughout the history of our great state,” he said.
Following its stay at College of DuPage, the Bicentennial Exhibit on Illinois Law will travel around the state to select colleges and universities in 2018 and 2019.
The Supreme Court Historic Preservation Commission was established in 2007 to assist and advise the Supreme Court of Illinois in acquiring, collecting, preserving and cataloging documents, artifact and information relating to the Illinois judiciary. The Commission seeks to accomplish its work in partnership with historical and cultural institutions; bar association; universities; law schools; and federal, state and local agencies.
College of DuPage is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Serving approximately 25,000 students each term, College of DuPage is the largest public community college in the state of Illinois. The College grants several associate degrees and offers more than 170 career and technical certificates in over 50 areas of study.
Pictured: (from left) Illinois Supreme Court Historic Preservation Commissioner Kirk Dillard, DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin, Illinois Appellate Court Judge Joe Birkett, College of DuPage General Counsel John Kness, Illinois Supreme Court Justice Robert R. Thomas, E ighteenth Judicial Circuit Judge Jeffrey S. MacKay, COD Board Chairman Deanne Mazzochi, COD President Dr. Ann Rondeau and State Representative David Olsen.