February 26, 2015

Former law school dean to deliver Tenney lecture

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Peter C. Alexander, former dean of the Southern Illinois University School of Law, returns to the Carbondale campus to deliver the Charles D. Tenney Distinguished Lecture for spring 2015. 

Alexander’s lecture focuses on the subject of a forthcoming book he wrote with his father: “It Takes a Village: The Integration of the Hillburn School System.” The lecture begins at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, March 3, in the Student Center auditorium. The event is free and open to the public. A reception follows. 

Desegregation of the Hillburn School in New York in 1943 was perhaps not as famous as the Little Rock school, but it was a milestone nonetheless – both in the civil rights movement, and personally for future Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. Before Marshall served as a justice on the nation’s high court and before he altered the course of American history by winning the Supreme Court case, Brown v. Board of Education that desegregated public schools, he argued for the desegregation of the Hillburn School. 

Alexander is also the author of “Insufficient Funds: The Financial Life of Frank Lloyd Wright,” published in 2012. 

Alexander served as dean of the SIU School of Law from 2003 to 2009, and later was founding dean of the Indiana Tech Law School in Fort Wayne, Ind. During his teaching career, Alexander served on the faculty of The Dickinson School of Law at Pennsylvania State University, where he was associate dean for research and faculty development and taught in the areas of bankruptcy law, evidence and trial practice. 

He began his law career in private practice. He is a member of the American Bar Association, the Illinois State Bar Association, and the American Bankruptcy Institute; he is a Fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy, the American Bar Foundation, and the Illinois Bar Foundation; and he is an elected member of the American Law Institute. He is the 21st recipient of the Illinois Bar Foundation Distinguished Service to Law and Society Award. Alexander earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from SIU Carbondale, and his law degree from the Northeastern University School of Law in Boston, Mass.

The University Honors Program sponsors the Charles D. Tenney Distinguished Lecture Series.  Tenney served as the university’s provost and vice president from 1952 to 1971.