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Keynote Speakers

Commencement Speakers


Judge James E. Lockemy, '71

Judge James E. LockemyJudge James E. Lockemy serves as chief judge of the South Carolina Court of Appeals, the second highest court in the state.

Lockemy served 18 years as a Circuit Court judge before he was elected to the Court of Appeals in 2008. He was elected as chief judge in May 2016. He is only the fifth chief judge of the South Carolina Court of Appeals.

A native of Dillon, S.C., Lockemy has had an exceptional career in the military, law, politics and civic life. He earned a history degree from UNC Pembroke in 1971. He then received a law degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law.

Lockemy served 30 years in the military, including a tour of duty in Kosovo, before retiring as full colonel in the National Guard. He began his professional career as a legislative assistant to U.S. Sen. Strom Thurmond. He later served as legal counsel to a subcommittee on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

In 1979, Lockemy returned to Dillon and entered private practice with the law firm of Greene, Lockemy and Bailey. He served two terms in the South Carolina House of Representatives and, in 1989, began an 18-year stint as a state Circuit Court Judge.

He is a former president of the National Guard Association of South Carolina and the Circuit Court Judges Association. He is also a member of the executive committees of the National Conference of State Trial Judges and the National Conference of Appellate Court Judges.

Lockemy is very active in the community as a longtime Boy Scout leader and youth sports coach. He helped renovate the old Dillon County Theatre and serves as a board member. He is also active in community theatre. Lockemy also led effort to renovate the Dillon County Courthouse. He is an active Kiwanian having served as president and lieutenant governor.

In 1989, he was named Dillon County Citizen of the Year.

In 2012, alumni staff at UNC Pembroke presented him with the Distinguished Service Award. That same year, he earned a master’s degree in history from The Citadel.