Notre Dame Law School | November 16, 2016
As an African American growing up in the 1950s in Canton, Ohio, Alan Page thought his opportunities were limited. Most of his peers, like so many before them, would have little choice but to work in the steel mill: work that was physically demanding, dirty, and tedious.
“I could deal with it being dangerous. I could deal with the dirty,” he said. But I understood repetitious wasn’t going to work for me.”
He wanted to have more of an impact. And in a country in which it is extremely difficult for someone to achieve top honors and impact in any given career, Page did it in two: professional football and law.
Page, B.A. ’67, is a former Notre Dame All-American football player and NFL Hall of Fame member. And after that success, he became the first African American justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court — a position he held until he retired at the mandatory age of 70.
Page spoke to Notre Dame students recently in a conversation with Mark P. McKenna, associate dean for faculty development and professor of law, in the Patrick F. McCartan Courtroom. McKenna himself was a walk-on football player at Notre Dame when he was an undergraduate. Page visited as the Judge James J. Clynes, Jr. Visiting Chair and was also presented with the Moose Krause Distinguished Service Award during the Monogram Club’s 100th Anniversary Celebration.