Two groundbreaking public servants who have dedicated their careers to the advancement of the Commonwealth and betterment of others will address the Longwood Class of 2022 in Commencement ceremonies on May 20th and 21st, 2022 — Justice Bill Mims and, on the 50th anniversary of her own historic graduation, Cookie Scott ‘72 of the University’s Board of Visitors.
The Hon. William C. “Bill” Mims, the undergraduate Commencement speaker, is the first person to serve in both houses of the Virginia legislature, hold statewide office as Attorney General, and be elected to the Virginia Supreme Court. A widely respected public servant who championed bipartisan legislation, Mims was first elected to the legislature in 1991 as a Republican. He retired from the Virginia Supreme Court bench in March.
While in the General Assembly, Mims championed bipartisan legislation on mental health reform, victims’ rights, and traffic safety. His most notable legislative achievement as a delegate, though, was creating the Virginia Higher Education Trust Fund (now the Virginia529 plan), which he introduced in 1994 and was unanimously approved by both houses of the General Assembly that year. His bill was signed into law by Gov. George Allen and is now the largest 529 in the nation, managing almost $100 billion in assets to support Virginia families paying for higher education.
His fellow legislators unanimously elected Mims to fill the office of the Attorney General in 2009 when Bob McDonnell stepped down to run for governor. Mims declined to run in the statewide election, and left office the next year. Shortly thereafter, Mims was again unanimously elected to the Virginia Supreme Court as the 100th justice in the history of the body. He served in that capacity for 12 years.
Mims will address students and guests at undergraduate Commencement on Saturday, May 21st, at 9:30 a.m. on Wheeler Mall.
Bill Mims and Cookie Scott are both powerful examples of the type of citizen leader we all should aspire to be. We are deeply honored to have them joining us for our ceremonies in May.President W. Taylor Reveley IV Tweet This
N.H. “Cookie” Scott was one of the first Black students to enroll at Longwood and the first to graduate. She received her bachelor of arts degree in sociology in 1972 and since then has been an active member of the Longwood community, including as a current member of the University’s Board of Visitors.
In 2012, Longwood named a center for diversity and inclusion in Scott’s honor. Today that center is located in Upchurch University Center and is a home and meeting place for multiple multicultural organizations on campus. It is used by the Longwood chapter of the NAACP, Black Student Association, Hispanic Latino Association, PRIDE, and the Greek National PanHellenic Council, as well as serving as an informal gathering spot for students.
Cookie Scott began her professional life as a social worker working with psychiatric patients and their families before a long career with the Virginia Department of Corrections, where she retired as deputy director, division of administration. She was born in rural Albemarle County and grew up in Richmond and Albemarle, attending segregated schools until her senior year in high school.
Scott will address graduate students and guests at graduate Commencement on Friday, May 20th at 5:30 p.m. on Stubbs Mall.
They are gracious, smart public servants who work to make the world a better place.Longwood Rector Lucia Anna "Pia" Trigiani Tweet This
“Bill Mims and Cookie Scott are both powerful examples of the type of citizen leader we all should aspire to be,” said Longwood President W. Taylor Reveley IV. “We are deeply honored to have them joining us for our ceremonies in May.”
“Both have served their communities and the Commonwealth with humility, grace, and dignity for many decades and have each broken new ground in their own right,” said Longwood Rector Lucia Anna "Pia" Trigiani. “They are gracious, smart public servants who work to make the world a better place.”
Both Commencement ceremonies will be live-streamed for those who cannot attend in person.