Honorary Degrees
1918 - Present

Pius Nkonzo Langa 
Doctor of Laws  2011
Status: conferred

Pius Nkonzo Langa, former chief justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, has devoted his life to the support of human rights and democracy. Despite apartheid barriers, Langa earned B. Juris and LL.B. degrees from the University of South Africa. Rising from office messenger to magistrate in the Department of Justice, he became a Supreme Court advocate in 1977 and senior counsel in 1994, representing oppressed individuals and groups through the years. He was a founding member of the Release Mandela Committee and helped found the South African Legal Defense Fund. President Nelson Mandela appointed Langa as one the first judges of the post-apartheid Court. In 1997 he became deputy president of the Court and in 2005 became the country's first black chief justice, retiring from that position 2009. He has taught at several universities, including SMU's Dedman School of Law. For his extraordinary personal accomplishments and 40 years of leadership as a champion of human and constitutional rights, Southern Methodist University is honored to confer upon Justice Pius Nkonzo Langa the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.