The College of the Holy Cross will award an honorary degree to prominent litigation attorney and alumnus Theodore V. “Ted” Wells Jr. ’72, during a Convocation event taking place on Friday, November 9. Wells, a co-founder and former president of the Black Student Union (BSU) at Holy Cross, will be addressing the campus community during this ceremony.
The Honorary Degree Convocation will mark the beginning of a three-day campus celebration commemorating the 50th anniversary of the BSU, honoring its heritage and the people who have played a role in shaping it. Founded in 1968, following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the BSU was created in an effort to provide a support system for African American students and all members of the Holy Cross community by creating an environment promoting leadership, embracing identity and encouraging diversity.
A partner and co-chair of the Litigation Department in the New York law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, Wells has become one of the leading white-collar criminal defense attorneys in the nation, having counted major corporations such as Citigroup, Merck, Johnson & Johnson, Bank of America, Mitsubishi Corporation, Carnival Corporation and Philip Morris Corporation as clients.
The National Law Journal named Wells one of “The Decade’s Most Influential Lawyers” in 2010, and over the years has repeatedly selected him as one of the 100 most influential lawyers in America, including naming him as the Lawyer of the Year in 2006. Wells has also been recognized as one of the outstanding jury trial lawyers in the country by numerous publications and was a recipient of the New York Law Journal’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017.
Wells is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and has served as co-chair of the White-Collar Criminal Section of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. He has been a faculty member of the Practicing Law Institute Trial Advocacy Program, a teaching team member of the Harvard Law School Trial Advocacy Workshop and a lecturer at the Securities Regulation Institute.
Involved in social, political and community affairs for many years, Wells served as national treasurer for Senator Bill Bradley’s presidential campaign and is the chairman emeritus of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Board of Directors. He previously served, on a pro bono basis, as general counsel to the New Jersey NAACP, New Jersey co-chairperson of the United Negro College Fund and general counsel to the New Jersey Democratic Party. In addition, Wells is a Fellow of the Harvard Corporation, the governing body of Harvard University.
After graduating from Holy Cross, Wells went on to serve as the College’s first African-American trustee from 1977 to 1994 and again from 2002 to 2008. He now serves on Holy Cross’ Board of Advisors. In 2000, Wells was the recipient of a Sanctae Crucis Award, the highest non-degree recognition bestowed by the College upon graduates for their professional achievement and commitment to service, faith and justice.
Wells received his M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, and his J.D. from Harvard Law School.
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