On Friday, May 13, the Honorable Frank A. Iannotti ’72 HGS returned to Hopkins to be honored as the 2022 Distinguished Alumnus.
Iannotti began his visit with an address at an all-school assembly, in which he praised his hard-working parents for giving him the opportunity to attend Hopkins. He thanked his former math teacher, Bill Ewen, for shepherding him through his Hopkins career, and continuing to check on him and his mother later in life. He also credited wrestling coach, Ralph Kirchhofer, for teaching him valuable life lessons.
As he reflected on his career in the Connecticut Judiciary, Iannotti explained that he has always strived to be the kind of judge to give second chances to the people who need it most. Rather than sentence those who have had a bad turn or are struggling with addiction to prison terms, he tries his best to connect them with services and programs to put them on a better path. He also shared that as a judge, he is committed to never second guessing himself or doubting his judicial decisions; rather, he trusts that his judgements were the best interpretation of the law. Video of the full assembly address can be seen below.
Following assembly, Iannotti spent the morning engaged in student discussion, first at a breakfast reception, and later while attending a meeting of the Social Justice course. Students had the opportunity to ask him about the criminal justice system, his stance on the Supreme Court and his perception of racial inequities in Connecticut.
Iannotti will return to Hopkins on Saturday, June 4 during Alumni Weekend to be honored as the Distinguished Alumnus, and celebrate his 50th Reunion with classmates.
The following article was printed in the winter edition of Views
, and highlights Iannotti’s career after graduating from Hopkins.
Distinguished Alumnus Frank Iannotti ’72 HGS
When the Honorable Frank A. Iannotti ’72 HGS was appointed to the Connecticut Judiciary in 1996 after close to 10 years in private practice, he saw it as a great opportunity to help others while serving the public. “I really liked public service, and I thought it would be an opportunity to do a lot of good for other people. As a judge, you are on both sides of the aisle—you represent no one. Your only side is to try to do the right thing.”
A presiding judge of the Ansonia/Milford District Superior Court in Connecticut, Iannotti is being honored this year as the 2022 Hopkins Distinguished Alumnus. He will visit campus twice this spring—once to speak to students and faculty during Assembly, and again during Alumni Weekend to receive his award and be honored by the Hopkins community.
Iannotti graduated from Boston College and was awarded his J.D. from the University of Baltimore School of Law in 1981. After graduating, he worked as a clerk in the Connecticut Superior Court, and later as a trial prosecutor for the Chief State’s Attorney’s Office, becoming head of that office’s economic crime unit. In 1987, he went into private practice before being appointed by Connecticut Governor John Rowland in 1996 as Presiding Judge of the Stamford/Norwalk District Superior Court. In 2021, he began a five-year term as Presiding Judge of the Ansonia/Milford District Superior Court.
While his judicial career has been incredibly rewarding, it has come with many challenges. One of the greatest, he said, is finding a balance—being able to exercise compassion while at the same time remaining neutral. Along with that comes the task of putting difficult feelings aside once a case is over. “Certain cases are fraught with emotion, and at the end of the day, that makes it hard to move forward,” Iannotti said. “Those cases do get to you, but all you can do is to do your best. You do the job, you make the decision, and then you have to put it aside and just realize that you have to go on to the next case.”