William O. Douglas Committee

Mission Statement

The William O. Douglas Committee coordinates the annual William O. Douglas Lecture Series for the purpose of promoting a strong commitment to the freedoms of speech, religion, and assembly protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. The lecture series features distinguished individuals who share this strong commitment to the First Amendment. View all WOD activities and updates on their Zagtivities page!


The Lecture Series began in 1972 with Justice Douglas as the initial speaker.

William O. Douglas was raised in Washington State, attended Whitman College in Walla Walla, Wash., and graduated from Columbia Law School. At the age of 40, William O. Douglas was one of the youngest people appointed to the United States Supreme Court.

Important Opinions:

  • Terminiello v. City of Chicago
  • Griswold v. Connecticut
  • Dennis v. United States (dissent)
  • Adler v. Board of Education of City of New York (dissent)

Annual Event

The William O. Douglas Lecture Series: Attended by students, faculty, the legal community, and the general public, this event is sponsored by the Student Bar Association, the Dean, and the entire William O. Douglas Committee, and features a lecture by a nationally recognized figure.


Membership is by selection only. Between two and five first-year students are added to the Committee each year. Notices are posted in the fall, and those interested are encouraged to submit an essay on their commitment to and interest in the First Amendment. Members serve a term of three years, or until graduation, whichever is first.

The Board is composed of a President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary. All officers are elected by the committee members to one year terms. Officers hold their positions from the time of their election in the spring semester until the election of their successors the following spring semester.

There are no fees associated with membership.

Board Members

President: Courtney Bell