The Honorable Jeff Payton, retired Mansfield Municipal Court Judge, will present the address at Ashland University’s winter commencement ceremony. The event will be held Dec. 11 at 10 a.m. in Kates Gymnasium in the Physical Education Center. Payton’s address is titled, “I Accept.”
Ashland University’s commencement ceremony will include both undergraduate students and graduate students. Students, as well as faculty and staff who are participating in the ceremony, are to assemble at 9 a.m. in the Conard Field House located just west of the Physical Education Center. The ceremony will be shown live in the Student Center Eagles’ Nest and Auditorium.
Payton was raised in Mansfield, Ohio, and educated in Mansfield Public Schools, graduating from Malabar High School. He received his bachelor of science degree in biology from Ashland University in 1969 and a law degree from the Cleveland Marshall College of Law in 1975.
Early in his career he was a teacher/coach at John Simpson Junior High in Mansfield, in the Cleveland Public Schools and at Cleveland Heights High School.
He has been a licensed attorney for the past 30 years and following law school he served as director of the Richland County Legal Services Association, an intern with the United States Department of Justice, the Juvenile Court Magistrate for seven years, a faculty member for the Ohio Judicial College and a Municipal Court Judge for 22 years.
During his judicial tenure, he implemented a number of programs, including Victim’s Assistance, Intensive Probation Supervision, Local and Regional Drug Court, Driver Intervention Program and Community Service Work Program.
Payton has been very involved in his community, serving on the Board of Directors for MedCentral Health System, MedCentral Health Foundation and Richland County 503 Corporation. He also served as past president of the Ohio Municipal Judges Association and is a life member of NAACP.
He also served as a member of the Richland County Bar Association, on the Community Advisory Council for General Motors Corp., and was appointed by the Chief Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court to serve on two statewide Commissions – the Ohio Criminal Sentencing Commission and the Ohio Courts Futures Commission. He also was the recipient of the Ashland University Alumni Association’s Special Achievement Award.
He is a lifelong member of Mt. Calvary Baptist Church and currently serves as a trustee and church treasurer. He and his wife, Carol, are the proud parents of two children, a daughter, Erin, a biomedical engineer residing in Minneapolis, Minn., and a son, Jeffrey, an account analyst, residing in Columbus, Ohio.
Ashland University (www.ashland.edu) is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students.