The Henry G. Bennett Distinguished Service Award


Judge Juanita Kidd Stout
Judge of the Common Pleas Court, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Juanita Kidd Stout

Oklahoma State Uuniversity is pleased to recognize Dr. Juanita Kidd Stout, who in 1959 was the first black woman in America to be elected to the Bench. Born in Wewoka, Oklahoma, Judge Stout earned the B. A. degree from University of Iowa, after which she taught music in the high schools at Seminole and Sand Springs, Oklahoma, prior to pursuing a career in law. She later received the J.D. and LL.M. degrees from Indiana University. After practicing law for five years, she joined the District Attorney's office in Philadelphia, serving as Assistant District Attorney and later as Chief of Appeals, Pardons and Paroles. In 1959, she was elected Judge of the Common Pleas Court in Philadelphia and was reelected in 1969 and 1979, both times receiving the highest vote of the Philadelphia Bar Association with respect to judicial qualifications, as well as the highest number of votes at the polls.

Judge Stout is known as a tireless and relentless public servant who believes in the value of a good education and adherence to the law of the land. During the sixties she gained national recognition for her vigorous fight against crime and all aspects of juvenile delinquency. She is known as a champion of justice, but her actions are tempered with the quiet encouragement and counsel she gives without fanfare or acclaim to the hundreds of young men and women who appear in her court.

Judge Stout is highly respected by her peers, by educators, and by the public in general. She is recipient of some fifty awards, including "Outstanding Woman Lawyer of the Year," National Association of Women Lawyers, 1965; "Outstanding alumni Award" from the Oklahoma State University 4-H Club, 1967; the "National 4-H Alumni Recognition Award,"1968; and the "Good Citizen Award" from the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO in 1971.

Judge Stout was appointed by President Kennedy as a Special Ambassador to the Kenya Independence Celebration in 1963, and in 1967, under the State Department's Cultural Exchange Program, she toured six African countries and lectured at law schools, colleges, high schools, and civic groups. She served as a forum member of the White House Conference on Children and Youth, and is constantly in demand as a public speaker. She is the author of numerous articles and has been the subject of articles in such national magazines as Time, Life, the Wall Street Journal, and Reader's Digest.

Year of Award: 1980