Great Grad: Cathy (Olberts) Derden ’76 ’79
An early change of course in Cathy (Olberts) Derden’s life resulted in a life-long law career, including her current position as a staff attorney for the Idaho Supreme Court, where she has been since 1998. “I like the variety of issues, the chance to work with judges all over the state, and the flexibility and autonomy it affords me,” said Derden.
Growing up in Little Rock, she began her college career at the University of Dallas but decided to transfer to UALR in her sophomore year. “My sister was going there, and I was ready to be back close to home and family,” said Derden, who received a bachelor’s degree in communication in 1976 and a juris doctorate from UALR Bowen School of Law in 1979.
From 1984 to 1992, she served on the UALR law school faculty, teaching Research, Writing and Appellate Advocacy, and Advanced Appellate Advocacy, and running an intramural moot court program. Then the alumna became an assistant attorney general for the State of Arkansas, working in the Criminal Appeals Division. Continuing criminal appeals, her next move was as a deputy attorney general for Idaho in 1994.
It was at UALR where she met her husband, Terry Derden ’76 ‘79, who is deputy director of the Executive Office of United States Attorneys. “We were married before our last year of college and attended law school together,” he said. They have four grown children and two grandchildren. Whether they are in Washington, D.C. or Idaho, the Derdens remain connected to UALR.
“My brother-in-law, Rick Sellars, became involved with the Alumni Association and encouraged me to join and renew old friendships,” said Cathy, who likes to spend her free time with family. In other leisure time, she can be found reading or traveling around the Washington, D.C. area.