William S. Sessions
Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation
Friday, February 10, 1989 · Evans Auditorium
William S. Sessions, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, was one of this nation's highest-ranking law-enforcement officials. As a former United States District Judge, he earned a reputation for fairness, impartiality and rigorous integrity which has made him one of the most highly-respected jurists ever to serve on the Federal bench.
A native of Fort Smith, Arkansas, Mr. Sessions attended high school in Kansas City, graduating in 1948. He enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1951 and earned his wings and received his commission in 1952. Upon leaving active duty, he enrolled in Baylor University where he earned his bachelor's degree and his law degree.
Mr. Sessions was a private practitioner of law in Waco from 1958 until 1969, when he left his firm, Haley, Fulbright, Winniford, Sessions and Bice, to join the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., as chief of the Government Operations Section, Criminal Division. He was appointed U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas in 1971.
In 1974, Mr. Sessions was appointed United States District Judge for the Western District of Texas and in 1980 became chief judge of that court. During his tenure on the Federal bench, he served on the board of directors of the Federal Judicial Center in Washington, D.C., and on committees of the State Bar of Texas and the Judicial Conference of the United States. He resigned his appointment as United States District Judge and was sworn in as FBI director on Nov. 2, 1987.
Mr. Sessions also received the Baylor University Distinguished Alumni Award and was awarded honorary degrees from the John C. Marshall Law School, St. Mary's University School of Law and the Dickinson School of Law. In 1988, he was honored as the Baylor Law School's "Lawyer of the Year" and was named "Father of the Year" by the National Fathers Day Committee.
—Adapted from the original event program distributed at William S. Sessions' LBJ Distinguished Lecture
“American democracy is, and always has been a wonderful, but strange breed of cat, balancing as it does the concepts of individual freedom and social order.”
“[FBI] agents have been glamorized, and they have been criticized, depending on one’s perspective. But to those of us in law enforcement who see great wrongs that need to be corrected, these agents are invaluable and necessary instruments of justice.”