Honorary Degrees
1918 - Present

Patrick E. Higginbotham 
Doctor of Laws  1989
Status: conferred

Outstanding judge and constitutional law scholar, Judge Higginbotham embodies a respect for due process, for clear thought, and for the complexities of the human condition that characterizes what is best in the United States legal system. After working his way through college and law school, he entered the private practice of law in Dallas. In that capacity, he worked tirelessly to expand the availability of legal services to the poor and to encourage lawyers to engage in pro bono work. In 1975, at age 36, he became the youngest person in history to be named a federal district judge. His performance on the bench earned him the respect and admiration of all who came in contact with him. In 1982, he was elevated to the United States Court of Appeals for the Firth Circuit, the nation's second-highest court. Judge Higginbotham's extraordinary dedication and well-developed sense of justice may be best inferred from the fact that leaders of both political parties have urged his elevation to the United States Supreme Court. For his uncompromising dedication to justice, Southern Methodist University is proud to confer upon the Honorable Patrick E. Higginbotham the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.