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Our History: Featured Alumni/ae: Downing, Thomas N., 1948

Over the decades our graduates have developed distinguished careers as justices, members of Congress, ambassadors, educators, business people, and community leaders in many fields. This site features some of those late graduates.

Arthur J. Morris Law Library

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Thomas Nelms Downing

Congressman from Virginia

Thomas Nelms Downing was born and raised in Newport News, Virginia. He attended Newport News High School, and graduated from Virginia Military Institute in 1940. After serving in the United States Army from 1942 to 1946, he attended and graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1948. He practiced as a lawyer, as well as a substitute judge of the municipal court of Warwick, Virginia. In 1958 he was elected as a Democrat to Congress and was re-elected eight times, before declining to run in 1976. Downing was a strong believer that there was a conspiracy and cover up in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, pushed for re-opening investigations, and chaired the House Select Committee on Assassinations. He died from the complications of intestinal surgery at the age of 82 in 2001 and is buried in Peninsula Memorial Park Cemetery, Newport News, Virginia.


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