William E. Thro is University Counsel and Assistant Professor of Government at Christopher Newport University, a public liberal arts university in Newport News, Virginia. He is an accomplished appellate advocate, constitutional scholar, and higher education lawyer.
As State Solicitor General of Virginia from 2004 to 2008, he was responsible for the Virginia State Government’s U.S. Supreme Court litigation (except capital cases) as well as lower court appeals involving the constitutionality of statutes or politically sensitive issues. He argued two cases in the U.S. Supreme Court and thirty-two cases in the lower appellate courts. He was on brief for three cases in the U.S. Supreme Court and thirty-eight cases in the lower appellate courts. A recipient of a National Association of Attorneys General BEST BRIEF AWARD, he has co-authored eleven U.S. Supreme Court amicus briefs on the merits and more than fifty briefs at the petition stage.
His scholarship focuses on constitutional law in education contexts in both the United States and South Africa. In addition to co-editing four books, he has authored or co-authored over eighty publications. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the EDUCATION LAW ASSOCIATION, the Editorial Advisory Committee of the EDUCATION LAW REPORTER, the Editorial Board of the INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL REFORM, the Advisory Board of the ENCYCLOPEDIA OF LAW AND HIGHER EDUCATION, the Editorial Board of the JOURNAL OF COLLEGE & UNIVERSITY LAW and as a Contributing Author to the YEARBOOK OF EDUCATION LAW. He regularly speaks at regional, national, and international conferences. In 2007, he became a FELLOW OF THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY ATTORNEYS—the organization’s highest honor for legal scholarship and contributions to higher education law.
Prior to becoming Christopher Newport University’s first in-house counsel, he was Interim General Counsel at Old Dominion University, chief counsel for Norfolk State University, and litigation counsel for the Colorado State University, the Colorado Department of Education, and the Colorado School of Mines. He began his legal career as judicial clerk to Judge Ronald E. Meredith of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky. A U.S. Senate Youth Scholar who has spent his entire career in government service, he is profiled in BEYOND THE BIG FIRM: PROFILES OF LAWYERS WHO WANT SOMETHING MORE (Alan B. Morrison & Diane T. Chin, eds., 2007).
He received his undergraduate degree summa sum laude from Hanover College. In addition to receiving the Crowe Citation as the outstanding male in his class, he was the first Hanover student to become a Harry S. Truman Scholar. He earned a graduate degree with honours from the University of Melbourne while attending as a Rotary Foundation International Ambassadorial Scholar. His law degree is from the University of Virginia where he was a published member of the VIRGINIA LAW REVIEW and research assistant to constitutional law professor A.E. Dick Howard.
He serves as an Elder in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), teaches an adult Sunday school class, and is a member of the Board of Directors for the local chapter of the American Red Cross. He is married to the Rev. Julie U. Thro, and has three children (Sandra, Will, & Noah).