Feb. 16, 2004

Contact: Jennifer Colaner, School of Law, (785) 864-4531

First black American Bar Association president to visit KU Feb. 18

LAWRENCE -- Dennis W. Archer, president of the American Bar Association and former Detroit mayor and Michigan Supreme Court justice, will visit the University of Kansas on Wednesday, Feb. 18. Archer, an African American, is the first person of color elected to the association˙s highest office.

While at KU, Archer will attend an informal coffee with minority student groups, address several law classes and have lunch with faculty members.

Archer, who was sworn in as the ABA's president in August 2003, was mayor of Detroit from 1994 to 2001 and was president of the National League of Cities in 2001. After leaving the mayor˙s office, Archer was elected chairman of Dickinson Wright PLLC, a 200-person, Detroit-based law firm with offices in Michigan and in Washington, D.C. He sits on the corporate boards of Johnson Controls Inc., Compuware Corp. and North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Co.

Archer earned his juris doctor from the Detroit College of Law in 1970. He began practicing law, working as a trial lawyer and a partner in several Detroit firms, and serving as an associate professor of the Detroit College of Law and adjunct professor at Wayne State University Law School.

In 1985 Gov. James Blanchard appointed Archer an associate justice of the Michigan Supreme Court. Archer was elected to an eight-year term the following year. In his final year on the bench, Archer was named the most respected judge in Michigan by Michigan Lawyers Weekly.

In 2000, Archer was named Public Official of the Year by Governing magazine. He received an Award of Excellence and was named 1998 Newsmaker of the Year by Engineering News-Record magazine, a sister publication of Business Week. In addition, Archer has been named one of the 25 most dynamic U.S. mayors by Newsweek magazine; one of the 100 Most Influential Black Americans by Ebony magazine; and one of the 100 Most Powerful Attorneys in the United States by the National Law Journal.

Archer has achieved national, state and municipal leadership positions despite humble beginnings. Born in Detroit, he was raised in Cassopolis, Mich., and took his first job at the age of 8, as a caddy for a local golf course. Archer held a series of odd jobs, working his way through college and law school. He earned a bachelor˙s degree in education from Western Michigan University, then taught learning-disabled children at two Detroit public schools from 1965 to 1970, while he earned his law degree.

Archer is married to Judge Trudy DunCombe Archer of Michigan˙s 36th District Court. They have two sons, Dennis W. Archer Jr. and Vincent DunCombe Archer, both of whom are graduates of the University of Michigan.


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