DePauw alumnus makes history, will come back to DePauw for second Ubben Lecture of the year


Talk has begun as to who is going to homecoming this fall: Douglas Hallward-Driemeier’s homecoming that is.

DePauw University alumnus Douglas Hallward-Driemeier, ’89 is returning to DePauw on Oct. 26 at 7:30 p.m. as part of the Timothy and Sharon Ubben Lecture series.

Hallward-Driemeier is currently a managing partner and heads the Appellate and Supreme Court practices at the Ropes & Gray’s Washington D.C. office. This summer, he notably argued in front of the Supreme Court in favor of same-sex marriage in a series of court decisions.

Timeliness is one of the major things Ken Owen keeps in mind when choosing who to feature next as part of the Ubben Lecture Series.  

“You want a variety of people to come in, and first and foremost they need to come in and connect with students but it is also important to me that they have some timeliness,” Owen said. “That they come at a time when their message, whatever it is they bring, connects with something that is happening in the world that we’re talking about in our classrooms.”

With the Supreme Court ruling taking place over the summer, timely is just what Owen got in bringing Hallward-Driemeier back to campus.  

Owen keeps a short list of alum that he would like to see come back to campus and with the happenings this summer, Douglas Hallward-Driemeier showed up on that list.

“I think regardless of how people feel about the issue or whether they were paying attention to the court battle or not, it’s a moment for us to hear from a DePauw graduate who’s right in the middle of probably the summer’s biggest story, along with the Iran [nuclear] deal,” Owen said.

Timeliness is not the only reason Owen, faculty and students see Hallward-Driemeier as a fit to come back and speak on campus.  For example, during his senior year Hallward-Driemeier was the first DePauw student to be awarded the Rhodes Scholarship.

“He has really been a great ambassador for the DePauw brand and the kinds of students we produce, the kinds of people who go out in the world and do amazing things," Owen said. "So I think students will learn from it, I think people that have maybe an interest in the subject or maybe the current events aspect of it will enjoy it too, so it hits a lot of good buttons.”

Professor Brett O’Bannon of the political science department knows personally a family represented in the Supreme Court case argued by Hallward-Driemeier.  

“But even had I not known personally anyone represented in this case, I would still consider Mr. Hallward-Driemeier a champion of human rights and most deserving of our recognition,” O’Bannon said.

Although, O’Bannon notes that there are many deserving alumni who have really taken the President’s charge to each graduating class to heart.

“Mr. Hallward-Driemeier clearly thought deeply on these things [the President’s charge], and he deserves our recognition and thanks,” said O’Bannon, but continued by saying “Let’s also remember that every day countless other DPU alumni are thinking on these things too.”

Owen takes to heart bringing prominent alumni, such as Hallward-Driemeir back to campus.

“It underscores the kinds of people DePauw produces, change agents in the world, people who are at the very highest levels making a difference in our world and it is so timely,” said Owen.   

Sophomore Victoria Houghtalen points out two other exciting reasons for Hallward-Driemeier’s return.

“He’ll bring his experience as a frequent presence in front of SCOTUS [Supreme Court of The United States], but he has also had an incredible career leading up to this summer’s decision,” Houghtalen said. “DePauw hasn’t had a Rhodes scholar in awhile, so I’m really excited to see how his undergraduate experience evolved to our current DePauw experience.”

Owen is expecting Hallward-Driemeier to discuss the current happenings within his career as well as connect with students about his time back at DePauw.

The title of Mr. Hallward-Driemeir’s speech is “The Power of Ideas: The Journey from East College to the Supreme Court.” Hallward-Driemeier will be introduced by his former faculty advisor and Professor Emeritus of political science, Bob Calvert.

“We’ve never paid an alumni speaker,” Owen said. “The alums who have come back, the Dan Quayle’s, Bret Baier’s, Jim Etling’s and Lee Hamilton…they have done so out of the goodness of their heart, and they want to connect with the students, so that makes it different.”

Aside from expenses, Hallward-Driemeier looks to be no exception.  

The speech will be on Oct. 26 at 7:30 p.m. in Kresge Auditorium and will be free and open to the public.