Maryville University will honor renowned civil rights attorney Kathleen Zellner with the Sister Mary Byles Peace and Justice Prize at 2 p.m. on Friday, September 21. Zellner will be recognized for her extraordinary success in wrongful conviction advocacy.
As part of the presentation, Zellner will deliver a brief lecture on her work.
“Maryville is honored to recognize Kathleen Zellner and her inspirational work,” says Margaret Onken, vice president for development and alumni relations. “The Sister Mary Byles Peace and Justice Prize and Lecture serves as a reminder of how a single person can champion issues of social justice and equity, and achieve far-reaching results. It sets a standard—not only for Maryville students, but for all of us—to embrace diversity, encourage dialogue, and look out for one another.”
Zellner will be recognized for her extraordinary success in wrongful conviction advocacy.
Zellner has been at the center of several high-profile cases, including the homicide conviction of Steven Avery (who was also the subject of the documentary series on a previous conviction, Making a Murderer), and Ryan Ferguson, whose 3,533 days of custody for a wrongful murder conviction resulted in an $11 million verdict.
Since opening her law office in 1991, Zellner has obtained more than $108 million in verdicts and settlements for her clients. She has the distinction of being the only attorney in the U.S. who won five multi-million-dollar verdicts in less than one year. Her legal expertise spans a wide range of areas, including: wrongful conviction, false arrest and false imprisonment (including improper prosecution), police misconduct and prisoner mistreatment, criminal appeals and medical malpractice.
The event is free and open to the public but reservations are requested. Email Chris Hollenbeck to reserve your place.
Previous honorees include the late Frankie Muse Freeman, a St. Louis civil rights pioneer, and Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO and national director of the Anti-Defamation League.
About the Sister Mary Byles Peace and Justice Prize and Lecture
The Sister Mary Byles Peace and Justice Prize and Lecture, which carries a monetary award provided through the Sister Mary Byles Endowed Lecture Series Fund, has been established by Maryville University to honor the legacy of Sister Mary Byles, an esteemed professor of humanities and theology. Throughout her long career at Maryville, she was well-known among religious leaders in the St. Louis area for her significant efforts to further ecumenical and interfaith relations. The prize and lecture in her name will draw attention to the moral and ethical issues still existing in modern society, and further the University’s mission to instill a sense of social consciousness within its graduates.