Knoxville, Tenn., Dec. 21 — Dean Gary Wade of Lincoln Memorial University’s John J. Duncan School of
Law was honored for his 28 years of service to the state appellate courts on Monday, Dec. 19, with the unveiling of a judicial portrait that will hang in the Knoxville courtroom of the Tennessee Supreme Court.
Presiding over the program were William M. Barker, retired chief justice of Tennessee Supreme Court; D. Michael Swiney, chief judge of the Tennessee Court of Appeals; and Thomas T. Woodall, presiding judge of the Court of Criminal Appeals. Each gave welcoming remarks and offered reflections on Wade’s judicial career. Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Norma McGee Ogle gave further remarks and assisted Wade in unveiling the Sergi Chernikov portrait.
“It has been a special honor for me to serve the people of my community and my state for the last 40 years. Tennesseans have been well served by the judicial branch of our government, and I am indeed grateful to have had the opportunity to work with so many outstanding jurists in the appellate courts,” Wade said. “I have not retired yet, however, and I have truly enjoyed my role as dean of Lincoln Memorial University’s Duncan School of Law.”
Wade, who retired from the Supreme Court to become LMU Law’s dean, is the only Tennessean to have held the position of chief justice of the Supreme Court and presiding (chief administrative) judge of the Court of Criminal Appeals. In 2014, during his term as chief justice, he led a successful retention election of the high court after a partisan challenge by then-Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey of Blountville. He was appointed to the Court of Criminal Appeals in 1987, where he also served as a presiding judge from 1998 until 2006. Prior to his judiciary appointment, Wade ran a private law practice. He was elected Mayor of Sevierville in 1977, where he served for a decade. He also served as city attorney for Pigeon Forge from 1973 to 1987.
Wade received a bachelor of science in 1970 from the University of Tennessee. He received his law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 1973.
Throughout his career, Wade has received honors including the Tennessee Bar Association Frank F. Drowota III Outstanding Judicial Service Award (2014); Appellate Judge of the Year, Southeastern Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates (2004); Judicial Excellence Award, Knoxville Bar Association (2004); East Tennessee Regional Leadership Award (2006); and the United States Department of Interior Citizens Award for Exceptional Service (2007). Wade has served on dozens of community and legal organization boards and commissions and was instrumental in the formation of the Friends of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, of which he was a co-founder and past president.
Wade and his wife of 44 years, Sandy, have three children and five grandchildren.