An honorary doctorate will be awarded to Fresno State alumnus Justice Marvin R. Baxter at Fresno State’s 104th commencement, 9 a.m. Saturday at the Save Mart Center.
Fresno State President Joseph I. Castro will confer the honorary doctorate upon the authority of the California State University Board of Trustees in recognition of Baxter’s distinguished 49-year legal career.
A native of Fowler, Baxter earned a degree in economics from Fresno State. As a student, Baxter served as president of the student body. He then went on to complete his education at UC Hastings College of the Law, graduating in 1966.
Baxter returned to the Valley to start his legal career as a Fresno County deputy district attorney. He entered private practice in 1969 as an associate and then partner at the firm Andres, Andrews, Thaxter, Jones and Baxter.
In 1983, Baxter returned to public service, first as an adviser to Gov. George Deukmejian. Baxter was appointed and confirmed as an Associate Justice of the Court of Appeal, Fifth Appellate District (headquartered in Fresno) in December 1988. He was elevated to serve as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of California in January 1991 and, in 2002, was re-elected to a new term of office which began on January 7, 2003.
In 2014, Baxter received the President’s Medal of Distinction, the highest non-degree award presented by Fresno State.
Justice Baxter is the recipient of the 1998 Distinguished Alumnus Award from Hastings College of the Law, the 1996 Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Fresno State Alumni Association, the 1996 Mentor Award from the Fresno County Young Lawyers Association, the 1995 Alumnus of the Year Award from the Fresno Chapter of the Hastings College of the Law Alumni Association, the 1993 Man of the Year Award from the Armenian Professional Society, the 1991 Man of the Year Award from the Armenian National Committee and the 1977 Arthur Saftsrom Outstanding Service Award, also from the Fresno State Alumni Association.
He married Jane Pippert Baxter on June 22, 1963. She is a retired elementary school teacher who spent many years with the Fresno Unified School District. The Baxters have two children, Laura Baxter-Simons and Brent M. Baxter, and four grandchildren.
Judge and Mrs. Baxter have recently established the “Marvin and Jane Baxter Scholarship” with the Fresno State Alumni Association to support students enrolled in the teaching credential program.