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Marilyn Stebner Kite - 2011 Outstanding Alumna
Bachelor of Arts -1970 - International Studies
Appointed to the Wyoming Supreme Court in 2000, Marilyn S. Kite became Wyoming’s first female chief justice in 2010. “When Kite graduated from UW, there were only five women attorneys practicing in the state,” says Justice Bill Hill. “By virtue of her personality, determination, intellect, and her general excellence in all facets as a practitioner, Chief Justice Kite, and others, began to knock on the door and ultimately to knock it down.”
A Laramie native, Kite received a bachelor’s degree in international affairs and French, with honors, from UW in 1970. She received a J.D. degree from the UW Law School in 1974. “It was my political science advisor, Ken Griffin who provided strong enough support to send me on my way when I considered law as a profession,” says Kite. “My UW education encouraged and fueled my intellectual curiosity and taught me how to explore ideas and events beyond our borders and, hopefully, use that knowledge to improve my life.”
Immediately following graduation, Kite served as an assistant attorney general for the state of Wyoming until 1978. She then entered private practice with the law firm Holland & Hart from 1979 to 2000. Kite was one of the state’s first environmental lawyers. Most of her experience involved drafting laws and rules for the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality governing air, water, and land quality.
One of Kite’s goals throughout her career was to remain in Wyoming. “I am proud of Wyoming’s heritage and the pioneers who are responsible for it. I enjoy Wyoming’s natural beauty and wildness and pray we and our children are wise enough to preserve it,” states Kite.
Hill describes Kite as “a trusted advisor to her clients who always has been held in the highest regard by clients of the opposing side because of her calm attitude and commonsense approach to her clients’ future.” Kite has received several awards, including the UW College of Law Order of the Coif in 2000 and the University of Wyoming College of Law Distinguished Alumni Award in 2008.
Kite’s father, Charlie Stebner, was the powerful force that instilled the desire to meet high goals. A son of a coal miner, urged by his widowed mother to get an education, Charlie Stebner ultimately became a nationally recognized dentist.
Bradley T. Cave, a partner with Holland & Hart, describes Kite as a strong role model who encourages less-experienced colleagues to “be the expert” in whatever the client may need. Throughout her career, Kite has maintained a positive attitude and continuously demonstrates passion and enthusiasm as a “big sister” among those around her. Kite says she is most proud of the bond she enjoys with her brothers who keep her grounded and of the love and support of her husband and son who light her way.