ROBERT P. GRIFFIN
U.S. Representative, 1956-1966
U.S. Senator from Michigan, 1966-1979
Justice of Michigan Supreme Court, 1986-1995
Robert P. Griffin was born on November 6, 1923, in Detroit. He attended public schools in Garden City and Dearborn (Mich.), and graduated from Central Michigan University (CMU) with an A.B. and a B.S. Griffin served as class president in 1947. He earned a J.D. from the University of Michigan (UM) in 1950, and served as the Law Review editor.
Griffin has been awarded numerous honorary degrees, including: a LL.D from CMU in 1963; a LL.D. from Eastern Michigan University in 1969; a LL.D. from Albion College in1970; a LL.D. from Western Michigan University in 1971; a LL.D. from Grand Valley State College, now University, in 1971; a LL.D. from the Detroit College of Business in 1972; a LL.D. from the UM in 1973; a J.C.D. from Rollins College (Fla.) in 1970; a L.H.D. from Hillsdale College in 1970; an Ed.D. from Northern Michigan University in 1970; and a D.Pub.Serv. from Detroit Institute of Technology in 1971.
On May 10, 1947, Griffin married Marjorie Jean Anderson of Ludington (Mich.). Marjorie was another CMU graduate (Class of 1944). Together they had four children: Paul Robert, Richard Allen, James Anderson, and Martha Jill (Mrs. William Adams).
During World War II, Griffin served in the U.S. Army in the 71st Infantry Division, 1943-1946. He spent fourteen months in the European theatre of war.
In 1950, Griffin was admitted to the Michigan Bar. He worked as a partner in the law firms of Murchie, Calcutt & Griffin, 1951-1954, and in Williams, Thompson & Griffin, 1954-1956.
Griffin served 22 years in the U.S. Congress. He was elected in November 1956 to the U.S. House of Representative from Michigan’s 9th District. He was re-elected in 1958, 1960, 1962, and 1964. In May 1966, Griffin was appointed as a U.S. Senator from Michigan. He was elected in November 1966 to the U.S. Senate for a full six-year term and re-elected in 1972. At various times in his political career, Senator Griffin served on Senate committees on the Judiciary, Foreign Relations, Finance, Labor and Human Resources, Rules and Administration, Governmental Affairs, and Commerce, Science, and Transportation. He also served as Minority Whip of the U.S. Senate, 1969-1977. In 1960 he was named as one of the ten outstanding young men in America by the U.S Jaycees.
From 1979 to 1986, Senator Griffin served as counsel to the law firm of Miller, Canfield, Paddock & Stone. He also served on the World Board of Governors of the USO, 1982-1986; as a Visiting Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, 1979-1986; and as first chairman and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Gerald R. Ford Foundation. He was also a member of the Association of Former Members of Congress, and a member of the Board of Directors, 1982-1986; a member of the American Judicature Society, and a member of the Board of Directors, 1981-1985; a member of the Board of Visitors of the UM Law School; a member of the Board of Governors of the Clarke Historical Library at CMU; a member of the State Bar of Michigan; a member of the Bar of the U.S. Supreme Court and the District of Columbia; a member of the American Bar Association; and a member of the Grand Traverse-Leelanau-Antrim Bar Association.
In November 1986, Senator Griffin was elected as a Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court. He served an eight-year term, which expired on January 1, 1995.
Senator Griffin’s career of public service which spanned five decades, and the huge contribution thereto on the part of his partner and wife, Marjorie J. Griffin, are remember and honored by their alma mater, CMU, through the establishment in 2000 of the Robert and Marjorie Griffin Endowed Chair in American Government. It’s purpose is to stimulate student interest and active participation in the political system and public service.