MURRAY, Ky. — Murray State University alumnus and Indiana Supreme Court Justice Steven David returned to campus Sept. 17 to speak with cadets in the University’s ROTC program about leadership and the legal profession.

“You don’t have to be a superhero. Leaders are ordinary people who at times do extraordinary things, but you have to be willing to show up,” David told the students. “Leadership is a marathon — not a sprint.”

During his presentation, David discussed with the ROTC cadets ways they could pursue leadership opportunities in their daily lives. He encouraged them to forge their own paths in achieving their dreams and aspirations even at the risk of failure, while also emphasizing that people should learn from their mistakes but refuse to get caught up dwelling on them.

“Justice Steven David is an outstanding example of the potential demonstrated by Murray State ROTC alumni,” said Capt. Jason Payne, assistant professor of military science. “His achievements exemplify the outcome of hard work and professionalism. Through his actions, he has given our students a tangible illustration of success that they can seek to someday attain.”

David graduated from Murray State and the University’s ROTC program in 1979 as a Distinguished Military Graduate. He would go on to earn his law degree from Indiana University before serving four years of active duty in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps. After he completed his active-duty service in 1986, he remained in the U.S. Army Reserves until 2010, receiving two different mobilizations following 9/11: one as a trial lawyer in Iraq and one as chief defense counsel in Guantanamo Bay.

When David was not serving overseas, he held a variety of positions in the legal field, including working in Columbus, Indiana, in personal injury, family law and civil litigation as well as in the role of in-house counsel for Mayflower Transit, Inc. He then worked for 15 years as circuit court judge of Boone County, Indiana, before applying for a position on the Indiana Supreme Court.

“You have three choices every day: you can participate, you can watch or you can complain,” David said. “I suggest you participate.”

The Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) is a college-based officer commissioning program that focuses on leadership development, problem solving, strategic planning and professional ethics. Students in Murray State’s ROTC program graduate as officers in the U.S. Army with the tools, training and experiences to succeed in competitive environments. The ROTC program, which is housed in the University’s Center for Adult and Regional Education, also plays a significant role in helping participating students pay for their Murray State education.

“It was an honor to have Justice David return to campus as an alumnus of the ROTC program,” said Dan Lavit, executive director of the Center for Adult and Regional Education. “His message is of fundamental importance to anyone in a position of leadership, and I’m glad our cadets were able to have interactions with him.”

Learn more about ROTC opportunities at Murray State by visiting

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