Statement from UMass President Marty Meehan on the passing of Chief Justice Ralph Gants

I am saddened to learn of the passing of Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph Gants. Over the course of his 40-year legal career, Chief Justice Gants distinguished himself as a trailblazer in the legal profession and an outspoken defender of civil rights. It was a great privilege to present the Chief Justice with a UMass School of Law honorary degree in 2016. That day he spoke directly to the students about the importance of “reimagining what it means to be a court system” and the “need to reimagine what it means to practice law.” He challenged and inspired that new generation of lawyers to create real reform by making high quality legal representation affordable for all, regardless of income. In doing so he reflected UMass Law’s mission to pursue justice through public service. At this very difficult time, my thoughts and prayers are with Justice Gants’ family, friends and colleagues. He will be deeply missed.