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Nancy J. Guthrie -- 2012 Outstanding Alumna
Bachelor of Arts - 1965 - Sociology
J.D. University of Wyoming
Her warmth and friendly attitude contribute to Nancy Guthrie’s success. “As one local lawyer put it on her retirement: Judge Guthrie just seemed to have this little beam of sunshine following her everywhere she went,” notes John W. Davis, attorney. Guthrie received a B.A. in sociology and a J.D. from the University of Wyoming.
Upon graduating from law school she worked for Secretary of State Thyra Thomson as head of the Securities Department. From 1969 to 1991, she ran a private law practice in Basin, Wyoming, and was the first woman county attorney in the state.
In 1995, Guthrie achieved her childhood dream of becoming a district court judge. At the time, she was the only woman serving as a district judge in Wyoming, representing Wyoming’s 9th judicial district, Sublette, Teton and Fremont County. Guthrie’s father was a district court judge and the Chief Justice of the Wyoming Supreme Court and Nancy honored him by wearing his robe during her tenure on the bench. In response to whether or not Guthrie enjoyed being a judge, she said, “When you figure out when you’re six or seven years old that you want to be something and then finally, at fifty, you are, it’s pretty fun.”
Throughout all of her career opportunities, Guthrie always came across as well-educated, a characteristic she attributes to her liberal arts education. After she retired, she temporarily moved to Cheyenne to become Special Counsel to Governor Dave Freudenthal. “I had retired from the bench but not from life,” Guthrie said.
Guthrie’s positive attitude and breadth of knowledge led to a productive working environment, which was appreciated by all who worked with her. “She did not miss a beat. We were off to the races and she did a great job. The breadth of her experience and knowledge was invaluable,” notes former Governor David Freudenthal.
Currently, Guthrie has a mediation practice in Jackson. She has a knack for making all the people around her, especially in court, feel comfortable. “I take what I do very, very seriously, but I’ve never taken myself seriously,” she said. She believes in the power of exercise, good books, good friends, and travel. She continues to give back to her community as the Vice President of the Teton County Library Board, member of the steering committee for the nonprofit CLIMB, an organization to help single mothers out of poverty, and Teton Youth and Family Services which provides services for troubled youth and families. While on the bench she started the first Juvenile Drug Court. Before her appointment to the bench she was an active member of the Wyoming State Bar for 27 years, serving on various committees.
Due to participation within her profession, as well as through her community involvement, Guthrie was selected as one of the Wyoming Commission of Women’s “Women of Distinction.” Guthrie has given a great deal of time and energy to UW. She was elected to the UW Alumni Association (UWAA) Board of Directors in 1986 and served as UWAA president from 1990 to 1991. Roberta Darnall, former director of the UW Alumni Association, said, “Judge Guthrie is outstanding in her love of and service to her university.”
Guthrie’s fondness for UW was obvious when she was asked to give the commencement address at the 2010 Wyoming College of Law. She has positively impacted her Wyoming community and truly represents the foundations of a liberal arts degree. “Nancy’s personal example has created interest and opportunity for participation in careers in the arts and sciences, but beyond that she has exhibited that taking an interest in arts and sciences contributed to her quality of life in Wyoming,” said Mary Flitner.