Lake Superior Court Judge Calvin D. Hawkins, a 1967 graduate of Huntington College, was awarded the Sagamore of the Wabash on Wednesday, July 29.
Thinking he was presiding over an emergency hearing, Hawkins was surprised to be awarded by State Representative Mike Aylesworth, R-Hebron, and State Representative Bill Fine, R-Munster, on behalf of Governor Mike Pence at the Lorenzo Arredondo Justice Center in East Chicago, Indiana.
Hawkins was nominated “due to his longstanding efforts and contributions to the citizens of this community as a jurist as well as for his ‘It’s Cool to Stay in School’ program and his work with Indiana Legal Services,” said Fine during the presentation.
His wife, children and grandchildren were all present for the special event.
“I’m still in the state of euphoria, but I’m down to earth because no award is paying my bills,” Hawkins said.
Hawkins grew up in Washington, D.C., and during his time as a student at Huntington College, he co-founded the Huntington College Young Democrats. After graduation, he served as a community relations specialist in the U.S. Department of Justice during law school at Howard University. He then attended Hood Theological Seminary in Salisbury, North Carolina, and completed his training at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C.
Earlier in July, Hawkins completed the Dispute Resolution Skills course at the National Judicial College in Reno, Nevada, and received certification in the college’s judicial development program.
Hawkins was named the 2015 Judge of the Year by the James C. Kimbrough Bar Association and was recently elected president of the Indiana Legal Services board of directors.
“All of these awards are just shocking,” Hawkins said. “It’s an honor and humbling, and I’m very thankful for the recognition.”
Hawkins has served as adjunct professor, commencement, baccalaureate and chapel speaker, alumni board member and board of trustees member at Huntington University. He was recognized as alumnus of the year in 1975 and also awarded an honorary doctorate in 1998.
“It is a true honor for Huntington University to have such a distinguished alumni as the Honorable Calvin Hawkins,” said Huntington University President Sherilyn Emberton. “Judge Hawkins faithfully serves his community and his University for Christ, and what a joy to celebrate this tremendous recognition with him!”
The Sagamore of the Wabash was created during the term of Governor Ralph Gates, who served from 1945 to 1949. It is the highest distinction in Indiana that can only be given by the state governor. The term “sagamore” was used by the American Indian Tribes of the northeastern United States to describe a lesser chief or a great man among the tribe to whom the true chief would look for wisdom and advice. It is a personal tribute usually given to those who have rendered a distinguished service to the state or to the governor.