President National Judicial College
Apr 08, 2019
Benes Aldana
President National Judicial College

In 2017 the National Judicial College selected United States Coast Guard Capt. Benes Z. Aldana, chief trial judge of the U.S. Coast Guard, as its president and new leader of the nation’s most influential institute for the continuing education of judges.

Aldana succeeded retiring President Chad C. Schmucker, a former Michigan judge and state court administrator who led the College for three-plus years.  Aldana, was the first Asian Pacific (Filipino) American chief trial judge in U.S. military history.  He took over leadership of an institution offering more than 100 judicial education programs annually onsite, online and across the nation. The NJC has been the nation’s leading provider of judicial education since its founding in 1963, drawing participants from every state and more than 150 countries. On average, the College educates approximately 7,500 judges each year.

The new president, who has also held leadership roles with the American Bar Association (ABA), said he is resolved to leading the College to a renewed sense of purpose and to forging new partnerships.  “With current attacks on the rule of law and on the independence of the judiciary, I cannot think of a better calling than to devote my time and energy to ensure that the guardians of our rule of law are taught not only the knowledge and skills to effectively carry out their judicial duties, but to instill in them the courage to make difficult decisions,” he said.