Cut paper illustration by Lauren Fitzgerald

Karen Humphreys

1948 –

First woman to serve as federal magistrate judge for U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas, retired January 2015; board member of Kansas Leadership Center.

When women were just beginning to break through leadership positions in professions, Karen Humphreys served as a pioneering role model.

Beginning in the 1970s through the 1990s, Humphreys set the pace for what women could do in law. A native of Ashland, in 1970, she was one of 12 to be admitted to the School of Law at the University of Kansas. In 1978, she was appointed a District Judge for the 18th Judicial District, and, in 1993, she was appointed as U.S. Magistrate Judge – the first woman to serve in that position.

She created KAN-Trac, a specialty court that assists felony offenders in re-entering the community.

She has been listed as among 50 Kansans You Should Know.

Text by Beccy Tanner
Contributor, The Journal of the Kansas Leadership Center.

Cut paper illustration by Lauren Fitzgerald


See more Kansan portraits in this series.