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May 8, 2009

Oregon Law Gears Up for 2009 Commencement Exercises May 16

The University of Oregon School of Law will host its 2009 commencement exercises at 1:00 p.m. Saturday, May 16, at the Hult Center for the Performing Arts in Eugene.
The school welcomes commencement keynote speaker Steven T. Wax, currently serving his seventh term as the federal public defender for the District of Oregon.
Mr. Wax’s resume includes taking part in the Brooklyn, New York, district attorney’s prosecution of David Berkowitz, also known as “The Son of Sam.” As federal public defender, Wax represented Portland lawyer Brandon Mayfield, who was wrongfully accused of playing a role in the 2004 Madrid, Spain, train bombings, due to a misidentified fingerprint. Mayfield’s case resulted in a rare public apology by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Mr. Wax also has represented several alleged enemy combatants who were being held in the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
In 2008, Mr. Wax published Kafka Comes to America: Fighting for Justice in the War on Terror. The memoir documents Wax’s experiences defending Mayfield as well as Adel Hassan Hamad, a Sudanese charity worker who was held at Guantanamo Bay for five years without evidence of terrorist ties.
Also at commencement, Special Assistant to the Dean Merv Loya will be awarded Oregon Law’s 2009 Meritorious Service Award. Established by the law school faculty in 1984, the award is given annually “to a person or persons who have made extraordinary contributions to legal education and the law.” 
Loya has contributed more than twenty years of service to the law school’s students and alumni. Throughout his career, Loya has been active in state and local bar associations. He served as president of the Lane County Bar from 1998 to 1999, was an elected member of the Oregon State Bar (OSB) House of Delegates from 2000 to 2006, and has served on various Oregon Bar and Lane County Bar committees.
Loya currently is the law school representative to the OSB Loan Repayment Assistance Program Advisory Committee and is a member of the Advisory Committee for the Campaign for Equal Justice. The campaign, established by the Oregon Bar, raised more than one million dollars last year to provide additional funding for Legal Services programs, which provide legal assistance to low-income persons in Oregon. In addition, in March Loya was given special recognition for his volunteer work in support of the campaign and for his long-time support of legal services programs in Oregon. The Meritorious Service Award comes at a particularly significant time, as Loya is completing his post-retirement service to the law school this spring.
Members of the graduating class selected Ralph Mooney, professor of law, to lead their procession. Mooney has been a faculty member since 1972 and teaches contracts.  
Adell Amos will receive the Orlando J. Hollis Faculty Teaching Award. Amos, an assistant professor of law and a 1998 graduate, directs the law school’s Environmental and Natural Resources Program. The Hollis Award is presented annually to the law school’s outstanding teacher, to reward excellence in classroom instruction.
Jemine Mode is the J.D. class speaker. Christine Sonya Phillips is the LL.M. class speaker. Joseph M. Kraus, Student Bar Association president, also will address the graduates. Class of 2009 representatives Rachel Elizabeth Black-Maier and and Jennifer Rebecca Kirkman will present the class gift.
A reception will take place following commencement at The Club at Autzen Stadium, located at 2727 Leo Harris Parkway in Eugene.
For more information on this year’s commencement exercises, please visit the Oregon Law Commencement Web page.


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