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Arenda L. Wright Allen

Jusge Wright-AllenArenda Lauretta Wright Allen '82, Federal District Court Judge for the Eastern District of Virginia, is the recipient of the 2012 Department of Criminal Justice Outstanding Alumni Award.

Judge Allen, a native of Philadelphia, graduated from Kutztown University in 1982. She received her law degree from North Carolina Central University School of Law in 1985. She served as a Judge Advocate Officer in the United States Navy between 1985 and 1990 and as a Reserve Officer between 1992 and 2005. She retired at the rank of Commander.

In 1990 the Judge began serving as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia, prosecuting persons charged with violating federal criminal statutes. She joined the Federal Public Defender's Office in 2005, serving as Supervisory Assistant Federal Public Defender in the Eastern District.

President Barak Obama nominated her for a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in December 2010, and he re-nominated her again in January 2011. The U.S. Senate -- acting with rare but well-deserved unanimity -- confirmed her nomination on May 11, 2011 in a resounding 96-0 vote.

Judge Allen is proud to serve as the first African- American woman on the federal Bench in Virginia. Judge Allen has received many honors and awards and has lectured on a varietyof academic topics on campuses including Old Dominion University, Regent University School of Law, and William & Mary Law School. She is also active in the community and at her church and has worked with high schools and at-risk children. She has served on the Board of Directors for Park Place Family Life Center in Norfolk, Va, and has volunteered with a number of charities to help the hurting and less fortunate. She is married to Delroy Allen and is especially proud of her sons, Yanni and Nyle.