With a judicial career spanning over 16 years, Cheri L. Beasley, Esq., Douglass College Class of 1988, has shaped the jurisprudence of the State of North Carolina and is known as a fair and experienced jurist. Notably, Cheri was elected in 2014 in a statewide election to continue service as Associate Justice on the Supreme Court of North Carolina after having been appointed in December 2012 by North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue. In the Supreme Court’s nearly 200 years, Cheri is only the fifth African-American and the seventh woman to serve on the State’s highest court. Prior to this appointment, Cheri served for four years as an Associate Judge on the North Carolina Court of Appeals to which she was elected statewide in 2008. Her election to the Court of Appeals makes her the only African-American woman elected in any statewide election without an initial appointment by the Governor. She served ten years as a District Court Judge in the Twelfth Judicial District, Cumberland County, appointed in 1999 and subsequently elected in 2002 and 2006 presiding in criminal, civil, family, and juvenile courts. From 1994 to 1999, Cheri served as an Assistant Public Defender in the Twelfth Judicial District representing defendants charged with high level felonies.
Cheri graduated from Douglass College with double majors in Economics and Political Science and concentrations in Accounting and Finance. She also studied flute at Mason Gross School of the Arts. At Douglass, she was very active in student life serving as president of Nicholas Dormitory and as house chairwoman. Cheri was very active in PLEN (Public Leadership Education Network), with placement in two externships at the U.S. State Department and with the National Association of Women State Legislators. Cheri is active with the AADC’s North Carolina Regional Connection Group in Raleigh/Durham and has welcomed alumnae into her home for a Group gathering.
She is also a graduate of The University of Tennessee College of Law in Knoxville and completed a summer of law studies at Oxford University. She currently serves on the North Carolina Bar Association’s Board of Directors as a Vice President and has served on the Boards of Directors for Women’s Center of Fayetteville, The Women’s Forum of North Carolina, and the Junior League of Fayetteville. Cheri is active with the Triangle Rutgers Club, and the Food Bank of Eastern North Carolina.
Cheri’s commitment to serve North Carolina and her residents has extended far beyond the halls of justice as she has worked tirelessly as a mentor to students, new attorneys, and judges. Her passion for the law is evident to those who have attended one of her many lectures at the New District Court Judges’ School at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Government, the National Institute for Trial Advocacy, and Appellate Advocacy and Trial Advocacy classes at the University of North Carolina School of Law and North Carolina Central University School of Law. She holds memberships with the American Bar Association, Appellate Judicial Division, North Carolina Bar Association, and a host of other professional and civic organizations. She often invites students to her courtroom to observe the court system and discuss their observations.
She is the recipient of many awards, including the 2014 Fayetteville State University Chancellor’s Medallion, the 2014 North Carolina Central University Department of Criminal Justice Chair’s Award, the 2014 Gwyneth B. Davis Award by the North Carolina Association of Women Attorneys, the 2013 Women of Justice Public Official Award, the 2013 Outstanding Achievement Award for Justice by the Alliance of North Carolina Black Elected Officials and Advocates, and the 2011 Presidential Award of Distinction for Public Service from the General Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, Incorporated. Cheri was a 2013 Hall of Fame Inductee by the Rutgers University African-American Alumni Alliance and a 2012 Henry Toll Fellow with the Council of State Governments.
The Associate Alumnae of Douglass College and Douglass will induct three distinguished alumnae into The Douglass Society at the annual ceremony on Saturday, October 17, 2015, at 11:30 a.m. in the Rectangular Room of Neilson Dining Hall at Douglass. This year’s honorees are: Cheri L. Beasley, Esq. ’88, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of North Carolina and Lecturer in Appellate Law; Sharon Matlofsky Karmazin ’67, Tony Award-Winning Producer and Public Library Leader; Annmarie Previte Sabb, Ph.D. ’64, Pharmaceutical Research Scientist, Medicinal Chemist, Inventor. The Douglass Society was established in 1973 to recognize alumnae who have made major contributions in their field of expertise and whose life work embodies exceptional accomplishments and leadership.