by Pamela Young, Published October 10, 2009
YPSILANTI —The Eastern Michigan University Board of Regents approved the commencement speaker for the December commencement speaker at its regular meeting Oct. 20, 2009.
Judge Greg Mathis, who hosts a nationally-syndicated, reality-based television court show, will be the commencement speaker for Eastern Michigan’s commencement ceremony, Sunday, Dec. 20 at the university’s Convocation Center.
Mathis, 49, is well known for his early struggles to overcome adversity. A Detroit native, he dropped out of school and was in and out of jail before promising his dying mother that he would change his ways.
At age 18, he earned his GED and, with help of a close family friend, enrolled in Eastern Michigan University. While at EMU, Mathis developed an interest in politics and public administration, and was active in Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in public administration from EMU in 1983 and a law degree from the University of Detroit in 1987.
In 1995, he was elected a Superior Court judge for Michigan’s 36th District, making him the youngest person in the state to hold the post. Mathis’ show, Judge Mathis, debuted in 1999.
A play, Been there, Done that, based on his life toured 22 cities in the U.S. in 2002, and Inner City Miracle, a memoir, was published by Ballatine Books in 2002.
Mathis and his wife, Linda Reese Mathis, (a 1985 EMU graduate), live in Beverly Hills, CA and have four children.