Elected November 2014
Term of Office - January 1, 2015 - December 31, 2022
Marilyn Kelly is the Distinguished Jurist in Residence at the Wayne State University Law School where she teaches. She is the former Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court where she served for sixteen years, having been elected to the Court in 1996 and reelected in 2004. Earlier she served for eight years on the Michigan Court of Appeals after being elected in 1988 and reelected in 1994. She was also President of the Michigan State Board of Education where she served for twelve years after being elected in 1964 and reelected in 1968.
Marilyn was born and raised in Detroit, attended the Detroit Public Schools, and graduated with honors with a juris doctorate from Wayne Law. She earned a master’s degree from Middlebury College in Vermont and a bachelor of arts from Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti. Before attending law school, she taught French in the Grosse Pointe Public Schools, Albion College and Eastern Michigan University.
Marilyn holds honorary doctor of laws degrees from Wayne State University, Michigan State University and Eastern Michigan University. Wayne has awarded her its Distinguished Alumni Award.
The Michigan Education Association recognized her with its Distinguished Service Award. In 2014, the Negligence Law Section of the State Bar awarded her its Earl J. Cline Award for Excellence. In 2013, the Detroit and Michigan Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild honored her for a “life dedicated to justice and equality.” In 2012, the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan awarded her its lifetime achievement award, and Michigan Lawyers Weekly named her “Woman of the Year.” She was inducted into the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame in 2011.
Marilyn has served on numerous professional and community boards including the Michigan Leader Dogs for the Blind, Channel 56 Public Television, the National Consortium for Racial and Ethnic Fairness in the Courts, the Michigan State Bar Foundation, and the Executive Committee of the Wayne Law School Board of Visitors. She has been President of the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan and the Women’s Bar Association.
Marilyn has endowed a scholarship for law students at Wayne who are dedicated to a career in public service and in access to justice.
She lives in Bloomfield Hills with her husband, Dr. Donald Newman.