Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Friday, May 29, 2009

Stetson Family Law Professor Ruth Fleet Thurman Retires

On May 31, family law scholar Ruth Fleet Thurman will retire from her full-time position at Stetson University College of Law in Gulfport, Fla., leaving behind a legacy that began almost five decades ago. As her son began kindergarten in 1960, Professor Thurman began her legal studies at Stetson Law, graduating three years later as the only female in her class.

“It was a lifelong dream to go to law school,” said Thurman, whose eyes still sparkle with enthusiasm. “We studied the Supreme Court when I was in the sixth grade, and that's when I decided that I'd like to be a lawyer.”

After graduation, she practiced law for nearly 13 years and was the first woman to serve as assistant state attorney in the 6th Judicial Circuit of Florida. In 1975, she was asked to join the Stetson faculty and has the distinction of being Stetson's first tenured female law professor.

In 2005, she was inducted into the Hall of Fame at Stetson University College of Law. In 2009, she was honored with a bronze relief of her likeness as a “Legal Pioneer” by Stetson Law Vice President and Dean Darby Dickerson.  Stetson University President H. Douglas Lee -- who will himself retire this month -- approved the faculty and Dean Darby Dickerson’s recommendation to name Thurman a Professor Emeritus.

You can read a complete story and Q&A, and download a great photo of Professor Thurman, by visiting

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