Former President Bill Clinton described the late Janet Reno as an “extraordinary public servant” who never “cut a corner in her life.”
“Janet Reno was a stand-up person,” Clinton said at a memorial held Sunday inside Miami Dade College's Theodore R. Gibson Health Center at the Kendall campus. “She had an enormous impact on my life.”
Reno, who Clinton appointed as the nation’s first female attorney general, died Nov. 7 at age 78 of complications from Parkinson’s disease.
Sunday’s memorial, attended by dozens of friends, family members and former colleagues, included speeches by Reno’s sister Maggy Reno Hurchalla, Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former Florida State University President Talbot “Sandy” D’Alemberte, who was Reno’s mentor.
Members of U.S. Border Patrol's presented a folded American flag to Reno's family.
Reno, who grew up in South Florida, served as Miami-Dade state attorney for 15 years and worked briefly in private practice before becoming the attorney general.
During her tenure as Miami-Dade’s state attorney she developed a drug court that became a national model.
In her eight years as U.S. attorney general she faced major challenges and controversies, including the FBI’s raid in Waco, Texas; the Elián González case and Clinton’s impeachment.
Lynch said Reno “broke barriers” and “defied expectations.”
“I know that all of us here today have similar stories of how she inspired us in ways large and small,” she said. “We’re all here to honor her, to remember her. And the way that we do so is to take a lesson of her life and the challenge she’s left us...So, as we leave here today with our hearts still full, let us do so with a mission. A mission to carry Janet Reno’s legacy with us.”