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Payne, Mary Libby (Mary Elizabeth Bickerstaff Payne) (1932)



  • Existence: 1932


Mary Elizabeth (Libby) Bickerstaff Payne was born in Gulfport, Mississippi on March 27, 1931.Upon graduation from Gulfport High School, Payne attended Mississippi State College for Women in 1951. While at M.S.C.W, she was a part of organizations, such as the Forensic Council and the Student Christian Association. Originally, Payne attended M.S.C.W for ballet but changed her major to political science. She then transferred to University of Mississippi after her two year stay at M.S.C.W. Payne graduated for Ole Miss School of Law in 1955. In that same year, she married Bobby R. Payne. Mary Libby Payne became the first dean of the Mississippi College School of Law in 1975, serving as dean until 1978. Payne then taught at the college from 1978 to 1994. Upon retiring from teaching in 1994, Payne was then elected as the first woman charter member of the Mississippi Court of Appeals until 2001. Mary Libby Payne has received a number of awards for her achievements throughout her the years. In 1987, Payne was named Woman of the Year by the Mississippi Association for Women in Higher Education. She received the national Christian Legal Society’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002. In 2005, Payne received the Mississippi Bar’s Lifetime Achievement Award. She has also received the Mississippi Women Lawyer’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010. Mary Libby Payne received the Governor’s Medal of Service in 2011. In 2012, she received Mississippi Bar’s Women in the Profession Trailblazer Award. Recently in 2012, the Mississippi College School of Law had established the Mary Libby Payne Lectureship Series on Christianity and the Law. Keeping roots to MUW, Mary Libby Payne is a part of the MUW Alumni Association, class of 2015 for the board. She was also a member of the Mississippi’s First Alumnae Association upon the slit of the alumnae associations in 2007.