Leader of the New York Courts Office of Justice Initiatives to Address Graduates at 2022 Commencement

Portrait of Judge Mendelson

The speaker at the 56th Commencement of State University of New York at Old Westbury was today announced to be The Honorable Edwina G. Richardson-Mendelson, Deputy Chief Administrative Judge for Justice Initiatives for the New York State Unified Court System. Commencement will take place at NYCB Live: Home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Sunday, May 22, 2022 at 10 a.m.

"Across her career, she has exhibited values like integrity, empathy, intercultural understanding, and a commitment to social justice that are central to the spirit and mission of SUNY Old Westbury," ," said College President Timothy E. Sams, in making the announcement. "I am eager to hear her thoughts and ready to be inspired about what she believes we can achieve together in society." 

More than 1,100 students are expected to graduate from SUNY Old Westbury this year with graduate and undergraduate degrees earned in its schools of arts and sciences, business, education, and professional studies. 

Judge Mendelson leads the Office for Justice Initiatives, tasked with ensuring meaningful access to justice for all New Yorkers in civil, criminal and family courts, regardless of income, background, or special needs. To serve this mission, the Office for Justice Initiatives administers pro bono attorney and other volunteer programs, self-help services, Help Centers, and many other resources designed to serve unrepresented court users, including resources to assist those navigating virtual court operations ushered in by the Covid-19 crisis.

Additionally, Judge Mendelson leads the Equal Justice in Courts Initiative, implementing the recommendations of an October 2020 report examining racial bias in the state court system, as well as the New York State Judicial Committee on Women in the Courts, which works to enhance gender fairness in the New York State Courts. Judge Mendelson also directs several juvenile and family justice initiatives, including the New York State Unified Court System’s Child Welfare Court Improvement Project, its Advisory Council on Child Fatalities, the ongoing implementation of the seminal law raising the age of criminal responsibility in New York State, and the Child Support and Guardianship Working Groups of the Unified Court System/New York State Bar Association’s COVID-19 Recovery Task Force.