Indiana State University Monthly Alumni Association Newsletter

Excerpt from the March 2024 Newsletter

Alumni Association Spotlight: Noma Gurich

How did you become a Sycamore?

I grew up near South Bend, IN and had no connection with Indiana State until I attended a Summer Honors 2-week program in Political Science during the summer between my junior and senior year of high school. The other students in the program were from all over Indiana and Ohio. There were other subject areas, but we all stayed in a dormitory on campus and participated in social events planned for us. One of the sessions, presented by the pre-law advisor, Professor William I. Matthews, included a discussion of law school. I had never met a lawyer or judge and knew nothing about the requirements for law school. After the summer program, ISU offered me an academic scholarship. I only applied to one college—Indiana State. I later worked as a student assistant for Professor Matthews, and because of his encouragement, I attended and graduated from law school.

What is your educational background?

I am a graduate of Penn High School in Mishawaka, Indiana. I graduated from Indiana State University in 1975 with a BA in Political Science and a minor in History. I graduated from the University of Oklahoma College of Law in 1978.

What is your current engagement at Indiana State University?

I am a proud alumna of Indiana State. I was honored by ISU in 2012 by being named a Distinguished Alumni. It was such fun going back to campus and participating in the banquet and in Homecoming. I even rode in a convertible in the Homecoming Parade. At half time of the football game, as Distinguished Alumni, we were introduced to the crowd. I was a member of the Marching Sycamores during my four years at Indiana State, so it was great to be back on campus. I continue to support ISU as a member of the President’s Society.

What is your professional path?

I relocated to Oklahoma to attend law school shortly after my graduation from Indiana State. I finished law school and, after passing the bar exam, became a licensed attorney in Oklahoma. I practiced law for ten years with two firms in downtown Oklahoma City. I was then appointed by the Governor of Oklahoma to serve as a judge on the Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Court. I was reappointed by the next Governor to continue my service on that court. After ten years, I was appointed by another Governor to serve as a district judge in Oklahoma County, the largest county in Oklahoma. Soon after my appointment, I was challenged and successfully won a county-wide election. I served as a trial court judge with general jurisdiction for over 12 years. In 2011, I was appointed to serve on the Supreme Court of Oklahoma—one of 9 positions. I served as Chief Justice for two years and continue to serve as a member of the highest appellate court in Oklahoma. When I became a lawyer, no women had ever served on any appellate court in Oklahoma and no woman had ever served on the U.S. Supreme Court. In 2011, I

became only the 3rd woman to sit on the Supreme Court of Oklahoma.

What is a message you would like to share with Alumni Association members?

It is important for alumni to encourage each new generation to take advantage of the opportunities that Indiana State has to offer.