Justice James W. Hardesty of the Supreme Court of Nevada will deliver the commencement address at the graduation ceremony of the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law. The ceremony will take place at 2 p.m., Saturday, May 19, 2018, at Sacramento's Memorial Auditorium.
"I am excited that Justice Hardesty is going to be the featured speaker for our commencement ceremony this year," said McGeorge Dean Michael Hunter Schwartz. "He has stayed connected to McGeorge since he graduated, and his willingness to offer his wisdom has helped guide many alumni to launch successful careers in Nevada."
Hardesty was elected to the Nevada Supreme Court in November 2004. Previously, he served as chief justice of the Nevada Supreme Court in 2009, and he was re-elected to the court without opposition in 2010. He graduated from University of Nevada, Reno, in 1970 and is a McGeorge Class of 1975 alumnus. After graduating from Pacific, Hardesty returned to the Reno/Sparks area, where he worked in private practice from 1975 to 1998. He received the highest rating by Martindale-Hubbell, a nationally recognized publication of lawyer ratings.
In November 1998, Hardesty was elected district court judge for the Second Judicial District of Washoe County, Reno, Nevada. In November 2001, he was elected by his fellow judges to serve as chief judge of the 2nd Judicial District Court, a position to which he was re-elected in November 2003. Hardesty also served as president of the Nevada District Judges Association in 2003. In 2014, he led Nevada Supreme Court's effort to amend the Nevada Constitution to create a court of appeals. After voter approval, the Nevada Court of Appeals commenced on Jan. 5, 2015.
Hardesty was born and raised in Reno. He has been married for 44 years to his wife, Sandy, and together they have two children and five grandchildren. From 1978 through 1991, Justice Hardesty coached Bobby Sox Softball teams that included his daughters. In 1991, his team won the National Fastpitch Championship. He has been active with the Foster Grandparents Program, served on the Nevada State Board of Education, and is past president of the Rotary Club of Sparks.