Fresno State President Joseph I. Castro presented the President’s Medal of Distinction to California State Supreme Court Justice Marvin R. Baxter in recognition of his distinguished 47-year legal career.

The President’s Medal of Distinction is the highest non-degree award presented by Fresno State. It is given to citizens of the region, state or nation whose contributions in the area of professional achievements or public service are of national or international significance.

Castro presented the honor at a November dinner in Baxter’s honor. More than 800 attended the event in downtown Fresno, including former Gov. George Deukmejian, justices on the state Supreme Court and other leaders in the legal community.

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 advisor to Gov. 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.

Justice Baxter is the recipient of the 1998 Distinguished Alumnus Award from Hastings College of the Law, the 1996 Distinguished Alumnus Award from Fresno State, 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 Outstanding Service Award from the Fresno State Alumni Association.

He married Jane Pippert Baxter on June 22, 1963. Jane is a retired elementary school teacher who spent many years with the Fresno Unified School District. The Baxters have two children, Laura Baxter-Simons (an attorney) and Brent M. Baxter (a certified public accountant), and four grandchildren.