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Former Deputy Attorney General James Comey ('82) to speak at W&M Convocation

  • Lifelong committmentJames B. Comey ('82) has maintained a strong connection to his W&M family. He served as keynote speaker in 2008 at the college's annual Charter Day Ceremony. On this occasion he received an honorary degree of doctor of laws.

    Photo by Stephen Salpukas

    Lifelong committment
The College of William & Mary's Class of 2013 and its entering graduate and transfer students will be welcomed to campus by former U.S. Deputy Attorney General James B. Comey ('82) at the annual Opening Convocation Ceremony on Aug. 28.

Opening Convocation, a long-held tradition at W&M, celebrates the beginning of the academic year. The event will be held at 4:30 p.m. in the courtyard of the Sir Christopher Wren Building.

"It is marvelous to have Jim Comey back once again to speak to our Opening Convocation," said William & Mary President Taylor Reveley.  "He is one of William & Mary's most distinguished alumni, with a compelling record of public service.  Jim Comey understands what has made the College great over the generations.  He has a lifelong commitment to William & Mary and knows how to explain to new members of our campus community why such a commitment is vital to both the College and its graduates."

Comey currently serves as vice president on the William & Mary Alumni Association's Board of Directors; was the keynote speaker at W&M's annual Charter Day Ceremony in 2008, where he received the honorary degree of doctor of laws; and welcomed the freshmen class at Convocation in 2003.

Since graduating from William & Mary as a double major in chemistry and religion, Comey has dedicated most of his career to public service.

Between 2003 and 2005, he held the second highest position at the Justice Department, serving as Deputy Attorney General of the United States. In that role, Comey was responsible for supervising operations of the Department of Justice.  He also chaired the President's Corporate Fraud Task Force and the Presidential Board on Safeguarding Americans' Civil Liberties.

 In 2004, as Acting Attorney General (during the hospitalization of Attorney General John Ashcroft), Comey played a key role in narrowing the scope of the NSA's domestic surveillance policy. He persuaded the Bush Administration to amend its wiretapping program to meet the Justice Department's stricter standards for legality.

Prior to his service in Washington, D.C., Comey had a successful career as a federal prosecutor. In 1987, he joined the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, where he worked until 1993, eventually becoming deputy chief of the criminal division. During his time in New York, Comey served as lead prosecutor in a six-month mafia racketeering and murder trial of John Gambino; he oversaw numerous terrorism cases; and he prosecuted executives at WorldCom, Adelphia, and Imclone on fraud and securities-related charges. He obtained a conviction in the obstruction case against Martha Stewart. And he created a specialized unit to prosecute international drug cartels.

From 1996 to 2001, Comey, who earned his law degree in 1985 from the University of Chicago Law School, served as Managing Assistant U.S. Attorney in charge of the Richmond Division of the U.S. Attorney's office for the Eastern District of Virginia. In that role, he handled the Khobar Towers terrorist bombing case, which arose from a 1996 attack on a U.S. military facility in Saudi Arabia.

In 2005, Comey joined Lockheed Martin Corporation as the senior vice president and general counsel. In that role, he manages the corporation's legal affairs and law department and serves as the principal counsel to the corporation's senior leadership and Board of Directors.

Comey's wife, Patrice, is also a member of the Class of 1982. The couple has five children, including Maurene, a member of the College's Class of 2010.