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This scholarship was instituted to honor its namesake,
Samuel J. Roberts.

Samuel J. Roberts was born in Brooklyn, New York, but he was truly a man of Pennsylvania having moved to Erie as a child with his family. He was educated in the Erie School System graduating from Academy High School. He graduated with honors from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Finance in 1928 and the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1931. During Law School he served as editor of the Law Review and his academic achievement earned him membership in the Order of the Coif.

His legal practice included service as Assistant District Attorney of Erie County and Special Deputy Attorney General of Pennsylvania. When his military service in World War II was completed he returned to Erie Where he continued his law practice until his appointment to the trial bench of Erie County in 1952 as President Judge of the Orphans' Court. He was elected to a full 10-year term in November 1953. During his tenure he made himself available to other courts in Pennsylvania as a Visiting Judge to assist in reducing their backlog.

In 1962 then-Judge Samuel J. Roberts was nominated to run for election to fill a vacancy as Associate Justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. He was elected to that position for a full 21-year term. The last year of his term he served as Chief Justice of Pennsylvania. Upon completion of his term he continued to hear appeals from throughout Pennsylvania while serving on the Superior Court as a Senior Judge. Of the more than 2400 opinions written by Chief Justice Samuel J. Roberts, many are regarded as landmark decisions.

Chief Justice Roberts served the community of Erie as well as the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania by participating in and chairing many civic, legal and humanitarian causes. He lent his capable hand to social welfare and educational agencies, participated in the work of hospital boards, college and university boards as well as chairing committees of the Pennsylvania and American Bar Associations. He served as a faculty member as well as Dean of the Senior Appellate Judges Seminars sponsored by the Institute of Judicial Administration at New York University. He also undertook an assignment as a Special Master for the United States Supreme Court.

His scholarly ability, craftsmanship and openness to new ideas earned him the admiration of the legal world and the educational community. Throughout his career Chief Justice Roberts continued the learning process while he participated in the teaching process. When Judge Roberts took his first oath of office he promised to perform his judicial duties with fidelity - a commitment maintained through his career. It was his desire to make the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, the oldest appellate court in the nation, the very best appellate court in the nation.

It is to the life work and to the memory of Samuel J. Roberts that this scholarship is dedicated with the hope of assisting future leaders of the legal profession in accomplishing their goals.

The Chief Justice Samuel J. Roberts Scholarship Fund was initiated by an endowment from Louis and Barbara Pollock to the Erie County Bar Foundation. The Scholarship Fund is held and invested separately from other Foundation monies and is in the form of an endowment which is annually increased by proceeds received from contributions generated by the Erie County Bar Association's Annual Charity Golf Tournament.