News Release

Laura Coates, CNN Anchor and Chief Legal Analyst, Named U of M Homecoming Grand Marshal

Laura Coates—a St. Paul native, CNN’s chief legal analyst and newly named anchor of the channel’s 11p.m. ET show "Laura Coates Live"—will serve as Grand Marshal for the University of Minnesota’s 2023 Homecoming parade on Friday, Sept. 29. Coates is 2005 graduate from the University of Minnesota Law School and is also a 2001 graduate of Princeton University’s School of Public and International Affairs. 

She began her career practicing law in Minnesota and New York, but was soon called to public service as a trial attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice, serving during both the Bush and Obama administrations. She specialized in enforcement of voting rights. Coates also served as an assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, prosecuting a multitude of violent felony offenses, and became an adjunct professor at George Washington University School of Law.


Today, she is CNN's chief legal analyst, playing a central role in the network's extensive legal programming, and recently began anchoring CNN’s 11 p.m. ET hour. She also hosts the award-winning "The Laura Coates Show" on SiriusXM’s bipartisan P.O.T.U.S. channel, which features lively discussions on the intersections of politics, law, and pop culture. 

“Growing up in Minnesota, it's an honor to be recognized as this year’s Homecoming Grand Marshal and return to ‘the U’,” said Coates. “‘My time at the University of Minnesota Law School really prepared me for the different careers that I have pursued, and I have never lost sight of the fact that I was able to hone my skills as a lawyer and advocate in the university halls once occupied by legendary public servants—like Roy Wilkins and Hubert Humphrey.”

“Laura is one of the top legal voices in the country, delivering insightful and thought-provoking analysis for CNN viewers and SiriusXM listeners,” said Lisa Lewis, president and CEO of the University of Minnesota Alumni Association. “She is a well-respected constitutional expert, attorney, journalist, author, and professor who is deeply dedicated to keeping Americans informed.” 

Coates is also an award-winning anchor and a New York Times bestselling author. Her 2022 book, "Just Pursuit: A Black Prosecutor’s Fight For Fairness," provides her firsthand experience as a black female federal prosecutor. In 2016, recognizing the need for increased police accountability and improved police-community relations, Coates wrote the bestselling book "You Have the Right: A Constitutional Guide to Policing the Police." 

Since its founding in 1904, the University of Minnesota Alumni Association (UMAA) has supported the University’s homecoming festivities. This includes selecting an alumnus or alumna to be Grand Marshal. To be selected, the individual has to have demonstrated a passion for the U of M, become an aspirational role model for students and made a significant impact in their chosen profession.

The 2023 Homecoming celebrations will begin September 29 with an Alumni Awards Affair. For current Homecoming event information, visit

University of Minnesota Alumni Association
Carter Collins, Director of Communications
[email protected] | 612-626-1457

About University of Minnesota Alumni Association
University of Minnesota Alumni Association (UMAA) is a self-governed 501(c)3 that was founded in 1904 by alumni, for alumni. It is driven to empower students and 517,000 alumni of the Twin Cities and Rochester campuses to thrive, advocate, and celebrate as a community. Learn more at or call 612-624-2323 or 800-862-5867.