Horace Mann Award | Victory for Humanity

LaDoris Cordell ’71 – 2017 Recipient

LaDoris Hazzard Cordell, a 1971 graduate of Antioch College and a 1974 graduate of Stanford Law School, was the first lawyer to open a law practice in East Palo Alto. In 1978, she was appointed Assistant Dean for Student Affairs at Stanford Law School, where she implemented a successful minority admissions program.

In 1982, Governor Jerry Brown appointed Ms. Cordell to the Municipal Court of Santa Clara County. In 1988, Judge Cordell won election to the Superior Court of Santa Clara County, making her the first African American woman to sit on the Superior Court in northern California.

After 19 years on the bench, she retired and began employment at Stanford University as Vice Provost & Special Counselor to the President for Campus Relations. After eight years, she retired from that position in 2009.
In November 2003, Judge Cordell, accepting no monetary donations, ran a grassroots campaign and won a 4-year term on the Palo Alto City Council.

Judge Cordell has been an on-camera legal analyst for CBS-5 television and a guest commentator on Court TV. She has also interviewed public figures before live audiences, such as rapper Talib Kweli, reality TV star Kim Kardashian, New York Times columnist David Brooks, consumer advocate Ralph Nader, tennis star Billie Jean King, Professor Anita Hill, Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!,  President Obama’s Senior White House Advisor Valerie Jarrett, Lesly Stahl of “60 Minutes,” and Caitlyn Jenner.

Judge Cordell was the Independent Police Auditor for the City of San Jose for five years (2010-2015), having been appointed to that position after a national search. Under her leadership, that office gained national prominence.

In 2014, Judge Cordell chaired the Task Force On Racial Discrimination at San Jose State University in the aftermath of the racial bullying of an African American student. The Task Force made numerous recommendations to improve the racial atmosphere at the university.

In 2015, Judge Cordell was appointed Chairperson of the Blue Ribbon Commission that reviewed the conditions in the jails in Santa Clara County. Under her leadership, the Commission put forward several recommendations to improve the operation of the jails.

In 2015, Judge Cordell served on a Blue Ribbon Panel that reviewed operations of the San Francisco Police Departments and make recommendations after the racist texting scandal involving several San Francisco Police officers came to light. 

Among her many honors and awards, in 2014 Judge Cordell received the James McEntee Sr. Lifetime Achievement Award and the WEB Dubois Award from the Silicon Valley NAACP. 

In 2015, Judge Cordell was given a Community Builder Award by Silicon Valley People Acting In Community.  

She was inducted into Stanford University’s Multicultural Hall of Fame in 2016, was named a Woman of Impact that same year by Notre Dame High School, and received the Chief Justice Earl Warren Civil Liberties Award from the ACLU of Northern California. 
In 2017, Judge Cordell was inducted into the Silicon Valley Black Legends Hall of Fame, received the Crystal Gavel Award from the California Association of Black Lawyers’ Judicial Section, was a recipient of a Leadership Award from the Office of the District Attorney of San Franciso.

Judge Cordell was featured in the February 2017 “Resistance” issue of SF Magazine. She is the co-founded the African American Composer Initiative whose mission is to bring the music of Black composers, past and present to the world. 

As importantly, Judge Cordell is a mother, grandmother, and lives in Palo Alto with Florence Keller, her partner of 30 years. 




Walter E. Clark ’30
Owner and Director of North Country School, a progressive co-ed junior boarding school and summer camp committed to nurturing the promise of every child.


Donald S. Harrington ’37
Minister of NYC Community Church


Leland C. Clark Jr. ’41
The “Edison of Medicine” developed the first heart-lung machine


A. Eugene Adams ’30
Assistant VP for First National City Bank, NYC


Barrett Hollister ’36
Professor of Political Science, Antioch College; International American Friends


Peter H. Irons ’66
Emeritus Professor of Political Science at the University of California San Diego and an author on legal history. American political activist, civil rights attorney, legal scholar, and professor of political science. In 1963 he was issued a 3 year sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, CT, for refusing military induction.


Stephen Jay Gould ’63
Author and Harvard professor of paleontology, evolutionary biology and the history of science

Ernest Morgan ’29
Antioch Publishing, the original division of The Antioch Company, was founded by Ernest Morgan, that time was a student at Antioch


Marguerite Ross Barnett ’64
African-American political scientist; administrator and university president (University of Houston).


Amel R. Menotti ’37
Vice President of scientific affairs, and head of research at Bristol Laboratories, a subsidiary of Bristol-Myers.


Charles H. Weitz ’41
Administrator for United Nations


Clifford Geertz ’50
Anthropologist and professor emeritus at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton


George W. Comstock ’37
A physician and professor emeritus at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He was a distinguished epidemiologist who conducted seminal research on tuberculosis control and treatment and on cancer, heart disease, and lung disease.


O’dell Owens ’71
Hamilton County (Cincinnati, OH) Coroner. He made his mark as a fertility specialist, achieving Cincinnati's first pregnancy from a frozen embryo in 1988. He is a former senior medical director of United Healthcare of Ohio.


Eleanor Holmes Norton ’60
Congresswoman from the District of Columbia


A. Leon Higginbotham Jr. 49
One of the nation's most prominent African-American judges. Appointed to the U.S. District Court by President Lyndon Johnson in 1964. In 1977, Higginbotham was elevated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit by President Jimmy Carter.


Sylvia Law 64
Professor of Law, Medicine and Psychiatry at New York University School of Law, and is Co-Director, Arthur Garfield Hays Civil Liberties Program


Rozell "Prexy" Nesbitt 67
Human rights activist. South African Representative to the American Center for International Labor Solidarity in Johannesburg, South Africa as well as an Organizer for the American Friends Service Committee in Philadelphia and the Washington D.C.-based Africa Action. Senior program officer, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation


Mario Capecchi ’61
Distinguished professor human genetics Howard Hughes Institute/University of Utah


Deborah Meier ’54
Educator. A teacher, principal, writer, advocate who ranks among the most acclaimed leaders of the school reform movement in the U.S.


Joni Rabinowitz ’64
Public Policy Advocate and Co-Director of Just Harvest, an urban community organizing group which focuses on access to food for poor people in the inner city.


Lisa Delpit ’74
Educator. Executive Director and Eminent Scholar, Center for Urban Education and Innovation, Florida International University, work has focused on the education of children of color and the perspectives, aspirations, and pedagogical knowledge of color.


Coretta Scott King ’49
Civil rights activist. Founded Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change


Seymour Reichlin ’45
Renowned for his work in neuroendocrinology, Dr. Reichlin is considered the father of neuroimmune endocrinology.


Meg Hansson ’46
Business entrepreneur who has long served as an advocate for making the world a better place through example and action


Ruth Anderson Lawrence ’45
Professor of Pediatrics, Obstetrics & Gynecology at the University of Rochester School of Medicine in Rochester, N.Y.; she directs the Breastfeeding and Human Lactation Study Center


Mary Skarie 70
Health Officer of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)


Isaac H. Sobol 66
Dr. Sobol is the Chief Medical Officer of Health for Nunavut, a territory in Canada. For the past 10 years, he has led teams of medical volunteers to provide free medical clinics for the poor in eastern Tibet, on behalf of Rokpa International, whose Canadian branch, Rokpa Canada, he founded in 1992.


Edward Milton Ifft 60
Edward is a scientist, diplomat, disarmament expert, and negotiator to SALT, START, and the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. He served primarily in the State Department, but also was an official at NASA and served as Deputy Director of the On-Site Inspection Agency. He was US Commissioner for the Standing Consultative Commission, which implemented the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty with Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan. He is author of articles in scholarly journals published in the US, UK, Russia, and by the United Nations.


Robert M. Greenwald ’66
Filmmaker, producer, director and political activist; founder and president of Brave New Films


Kristine Herman ’94 
Kristine is Associate Director, Domestic Violence, Sex Offense and Family Court Programs for the Center for Court Innovation. She has worked in the field of domestic violence and sexual assault for nearly fifteen years, including legislative reform, legal representation, client advocacy and services for victims of domestic violence.


Pete Tridish (Dylan Wrynn)  ’92
Pete Tridish (pronounced petrie dish), formerly Dylan Wrynn ’92, is founder of community-based Prometheus Radio, a forerunner of radio Webcasting.


Ruth Markowitz Heifetz '57
Ruth Markowitz Heifetz has been involved in medical education for over half a century--focusing on how work and the environment determine people's health. In the early 1980's, she co-founded a San Diego environmental and social justice organization.


Richard Kaplan '49


Janne Nolan '74
Janne is an author, professor, and consultant to government and private industry in areas including international security, foreign policy, defense technology policy, U.S. governance, and ethics. Throughout her career, she has sought to improve the quality and effectiveness of US governance, leadership, and innovation in defense and foreign policy.  She has held positions in the State Department, Pentagon, White House and Senate Armed Service Committee.