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April 21, 2006

May 14: 2006 COMMENCEMENT U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer speaks, Justice Carson and domestic violence activist Phyllis Barkhurst honored

2006 Commencement 
Portland congressman speaks, Oregon Supreme Court Justice and domestic violence activist honored 

Because of a number of events at the UO on May 14, parking places will be extremely difficult to find on campus. Buses will ferry graduates, families, and invited guests between the Hult Center 7th Ave. entrance and the Knight Law Center main entrance. Buses will run every few minutes from the end of the commencement ceremony until 5:15 p.m.  
One hundred and seventy seven University of Oregon law graduates will celebrate commencement on Sunday, May 14 at 1 p.m. in the Silva Concert Hall of the Hult Center for the Performing Arts, on Willamette Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues in downtown Eugene. A reception will follow in the Wayne Morse Commons at the Knight Law Center on the UO campus.

This year’s ceremony shows the law school’s true ecumenical spirit — of three honored guests, one is a Lewis and Clark law school alumnus, one earned his law degree at Willamette, and the third is not a lawyer at all.

United States Congressman Earl Blumenauer, a Lewis and Clark law school graduate, will deliver the commencement address.

The 2006 Meritorious Service Awards will be given to outgoing Oregon Supreme Court Chief Justice Wallace P. Carson, a Willamette law graduate, and to Phyllis Barkhurst, an Oregon leader on issues of violence against women.

The awards are given by the law school each year to recipients who have made extraordinary contributions to legal education and the law.
The faculty selected Assistant Professor Joe Metcalfe for the prized Orlando Hollis Teaching Award. He teaches criminal law and procedure and trial practice and spearheaded the new Oregon Innocence Project, the first in the state.
Metcalfe came to the law school from the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., where he worked in the computer crime and intellectual property section. Before that, he served for six years as a  trial and appellate attorney with the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia.

Al Kim was selected by the Class of 2006 to give the class speech. The Lancaster, California native intends to speak about the ability of his class to have fun while enduring the rigors of law school. Kim knows what he is talking about — while in school, he clerked for the Oregon Department of Justice Family Law Section; learned Muay Thai boxing, the Thai national sport; and had his first fight. He will have another fight on June 10 and then return to California for the bar exam.

The graduating class elected Assistant Professor Tom Lininger to lead the procession as their commencement marshal. Lininger teaches evidence and ethics. He chairs the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission and directs the law school’s Public Interest/Public Service Program. Lininger previously served as a Lane County Commissioner.

United States Representative Earl Blumenauer represents Oregon’s third congressional district in Portland. The former Portland commissioner and state representative first was elected to Congress in 1996.

Blumenauerbegan his political career while still an undergraduate at Lewis and Clark College, spearheading an unsuccessful attempt to lower Oregon’s voting age and later, the successful national effort to lower the voting age. During his state legislative career, he chaired the Revenue and School Finance Committee and played key roles in enacting legislation that created Oregon’s landmark land use planning program and progressive transportation policies, both of which remain national models.

Wallace P. “Wally” Carson, outgoing chief justice of the Oregon Supreme Court and a Willamette Law School graduate, will receive one of two Meritorious Service Awards. First as a legislator, then as a trial court judge, and finally, as chief justice, Carson was named by the faculty for his “notable professionalism, integrity, statesmanship and unfailing graciousness.”

Carson, who with the six other justices hears oral arguments at the law school each year, has also helped educate many UO law school classes on Oregon’s judicial system. The court encourages the school’s first-year law students to ask free and unfettered questions about any topic, except for pending cases, during their annual visit.

Carson was elected to the Oregon Supreme Court in 1982, and has led the court for 14 years. He stepped down as chief justice last December, but will remain on the bench until 2007. He served as minority leader in the Oregon Senate and as majority leader in the House of Representatives during the 1970s. Carson has been a trustee of Salem’s Willamette University since 1970.

Children and family law professor Leslie Harris said the recipient of the second 2006 Meritorious Service Award is the “mother of the law school’s domestic violence clinic.”

Beginning in 1999, Phyllis D. Barkhurst secured the first of several federal grants that made the Lane County Domestic Violence Clinic a reality. She was selected for the law school’s meritorious service award for this achievement, for her commitment to collaboration between lawyers and non-lawyers, and for “her insight and political judgment when working with survivors— and for her exceptionally kind heart.”

Barkhurst cofounded Oregon’s Attorney General’s Sexual Assault Task Force in 1999 and now is its executive director.
She began her work on issues of violence against women in the early 1980s as a campus activist at the University of Illinois. She came to in Oregon in 1984 and continued her work in the field as an advocate, activist, program director, trainer, policy-maker, and funder. Barkhurst spent seven years as the executive director of the Klamath Crisis Center in Klamath Falls and eight years as the executive director of Sexual Assault Support Services in Eugene.

The UO offered its first law classes in 1884 in rented rooms at 2nd and Yamhill in Portland — the same site as the current UO Portland Center. The first woman law student graduated in 1892 and the first minority law student in 1900. The law school held its first separate commencement ceremony in 1972.


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