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Dawne S. Hickton (JD ‘83) to serve as Pitt Law’s 2022 Commencement Speaker

University of Pittsburgh School of Law alumna Dawne S. Hickton will deliver the keynote address at the Law School Commencement Ceremony on Sat., May 7, 2022, at 11 a.m. at the Petersen Events Center.

Hickton, the former Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Critical Mission Solutions, a 5-billion-dollar government national security, cyber, and space consulting business at Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc., led the Federal Government Relations, International Relations, and Technology and Innovation teams in addressing the growing demand for advanced, technology-driven solutions. Hickton is one of few women business leaders representing a large publicly traded firm.

Prior to Jacobs, Hickton was the first woman to run RTI International Metals, a global, publicly-traded, billion-dollar supplier of advanced titanium and specialty metals. Under her leadership, RTI evolved into one of the world’s largest metal manufacturers in the aerospace industry. 

Upon graduating from Pitt Law in 1983, Hickton began her career as a trial attorney with U.S. Steel. She returned to the law school as a clinical faculty member and director of its corporate counsel clinic while working at Burns, White, and Hickton. Hickton and her husband and fellow Pitt Law alumnus David Hickton (JD ’81) established a $1 million endowment for the school’s Elder Law Clinic. The Hickton Elder Law Clinic was named in honor of her late mother-in-law, Gloria McDermott Hickton. At Pitt Law, Hickton received the Dean Sell Award for Excellence in Corporation Law, and she and her classmate won the Pitt Law Gourley Cup Moot Court Competition.

Hickton was named a Top 100 STEM Leader by STEMconnector, a consortium of businesses, organizations, and universities that connect thought leaders on issues related to science, technology, engineering, and math. Her extensive resume includes a stint on the executive committee of the Aerospace Industries Association, a Washington, D.C.-based organization supporting the U.S. aerospace and defense industries. Hickton serves as a board member of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, has also served on and chaired the Board of Directors for the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, and is an emeritus member of the University of Pittsburgh’s Board of Trustees. She currently serves as the chair of the Board of Visitors for the School of Law.

“I am thrilled our students selected Dawne to speak on their special day. She has been breaking down barriers throughout her extraordinary career and is one of our most accomplished and distinguished alums,” said Pitt Law Dean Amy J. Wildermuth. “I look forward to having Dawne share her inspirational story and honoring the graduates of 2022.”