Shepherd University welcomed one of its own Friday when Gina Groh chose the school's Frank Center as the site to swear her oath as a Federal judge. Groh was a graduate of Shepherd and a McMurran Scholar who went on to law school at West Virginia University. She has served as a private lawyer, an assistant prosecuting attorney for Jefferson County and as a Circuit Judge in the 23rd Judicial Circuit.
Groh was nominated for the Federal bench by Sen. Jay Rockefeller and Sen. Joe Manchin and after nearly a year-long vetting process, her investiture ceremony was held Oct. 19.
The event commenced when the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals opened session. Groh's children, Stephen and Michael, led the Pledge of Allegiance at the start of the afternoon's remarks.
On hand to praise the hard work and community service rolls Groh has provided were both Rockefeller and Manchin as well as Rep. Shelley Moore Capito and Sen. Carte Goodwin
Chief Judge John Preston Bailey told attendees at the ceremony that he is happy to welcome Groh to the bench.
"After commuting from Wheeling to Martinsburg," he said, "I can't wait to give it to Gina." Groh will serve in the Federal Courthouse in Martinsburg.
Rockefeller led the accolades commending Groh for her work ethic, her service to community and her fairness in the courtroom.
"We entrust her to uphold the legal system in fairness as she always has," Rockefeller said.
Manchin echoed those statements as he commended Groh for her achievement. Manchin had been responsible for appointing Groh to the 23rd Judicial Circuit Court bench and told her Friday, "you have made me look awfully good and smart for appointing you as a circuit judge was I was Governor."
Capito joined in the commendation as well saying that Groh's fairness in her judicial post has been well noted. Capito shared that Groh is only the fourth woman federal judge to be named in West Virginia.
In an emotional few moments, Groh's former employer Mike Thompson said, "She is an immense source of pride to me. She possesses a very strong work ethic and the most important character trait to be fair and reasonable to everyone in the courtroom."
Following congratulatory and welcoming remarks from several judges on the Federal bench, the Honorable Judge Bailey read the Commission signed by President Obama confirming Groh's position as a federal judge. Her husband, Stephen, along with her sons then assisted her with her robe which stands as a sign of her seat on the bench.
"I will watch out for each and every person who walks into my courtroom and see they receive a fair shake," Groh said. She went on to say that she did not make the long journey to this appointment on her own. She thanked many who helped her along the way.
"I am living the dream," she said as she shared the story of her father and mother who instilled into her a work ethic. She voiced appreciation to the Groh men in her life, lauihing and saying, "The good new is, we never have to campaign again."