Helen Way Klingler College of Arts and Sciences
Professional Achievement Award
The Honorable Christopher R. Foley, Arts ’75, Law ’78
After more than 30 years as a judge for the Milwaukee County Circuit Court, Christopher has lost count of the number of adoptions over which he presided, but he has never lost hope in foster children.
“God only knows how many adoptions I have done, but each one has been exceptionally touching and rewarding,” says Christopher, sometimes dubbed “The Adoption Judge.”
Wisconsin’s governor appointed Foley to the bench in December 1985 to fill a vacancy left by Christopher’s retiring father, Leander J. Foley, Jr., Arts ’43, Law ’48. He has since been re-elected six times.
Before his appointment, Christopher served as a law clerk for the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, an assistant district attorney for Milwaukee County and a judge for the Milwaukee County Municipal Court.
Christopher often invites an older sibling to join him on the bench at adoption hearings, where he lets them bang the gavel to make things official. Christle Jones, Law ’15, did this at her twin brothers’ adoption and decided that very day she wanted to be a judge. Upon graduating from Marquette Law School 12 years later, she invited Christopher to the celebration, never having forgotten his encouragement.
Christopher’s definition of success is the Jesuit motto of “being a person for others.” He calls foster parents and children “incredibly courageous” and says working with them is “truly a gift.”
Counting Marquette as a cornerstone of his faith life, Christopher says of receiving this award, “There is something remarkably touching about (Marquette) telling you, ‘You have lived our mission; we are proud.’”
Fun fact: Christopher and his wife, Debra, are 30-year season ticketholders for Marquette men’s basketball.