The journey from the small town of New Haven, Ind., to the bench of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York sounds like a made-for-TV movie, but the Hon. Lorna G. Schofield was almost matter-of-fact when describing her career path.
“I want students to understand that there’s truly nothing extraordinary about my beginnings, and that things that are wonderful happen and can happen to all of us,” she explained. “But it’s not because I’m so special and so wonderful. You need certain qualifications, but you can’t ever count on or apply to be a federal judge. The stars have to align and you need to get very lucky, and I was very lucky.”
Prior to being one of four recipients of IU’s Distinguished Alumni Service Award, the university’s highest honor for alumni, Schofield, the nation’s first Filipino-American federal judge, began homecoming weekend by receiving the 2016 Distinguished Asian Pacific American Alumni Award. At an intimate gathering over brunch Friday at the in the Indiana Memorial Union’s ornate Federal Room, the affable Schofield recounted the route to presiding over a New York City courtroom that’s considered one of the most influential of its kind in the country.