The Honorable Adrienne Nelson to Deliver Oregon Law Commencement Address on May 19, 2018

Justice Nelson is a widely respected civil rights champion and the first African-American to serve on the Oregon Supreme Court

May 01, 2018

Eugene, Ore. — Oregon Supreme Court Justice Adrienne Nelson will deliver the commencement address to the 2018 graduates of the University of Oregon School of Law on May 19 at the Matthew Knight Arena at 1:00 p.m.

Governor Kate Brown appointed Nelson to the Oregon Supreme Court in January 2018. Nelson is the first African-American to serve on the Oregon Supreme Court, or on any kind of appellate court in Oregon. 

"We are honored and grateful to have Justice Nelson, the first African-American Justice on the Oregon Supreme Court, join us for this year's commencement celebration," said Marcilynn A. Burke, Dean and Dave Frohnmayer Chair in Leadership and Law. "Justice Nelson's experience and achievements as a jurist and a civil rights champion demonstrate her commitment to the rule of law. Throughout her career, she has emphasized the importance of treating everyone with dignity and respect, and making sure that people are heard. I look forward to her words of inspiration for this next generation of lawyers."

Nelson completed a bachelor's degree at the University of Arkansas in 1990, with majors in criminal justice and English. She completed a law degree at the University of Texas School of Law in 1993 and then moved to Portland, Oregon. Nelson has been a member of the American Bar Association House of Delegates and the ABA Commission on Disability Rights. She received the Oregon Women Lawyers (OWLs) Judge Mercedes Deiz Award in 2003, and the Oregon State Bar President’s Public Service Award in 2007. She has also served as president of the Multnomah Bar Foundation and president of the Oregon State Bar Foundation Board.

The School of Law was founded in 1884 in Portland, Ore. and currently operates in two locations, at main campus in Eugene and at the University of Oregon’s White Stag Block in Portland. The class of 2018 includes 118 graduates earning a Doctor of Jurisprudence and 10 graduates earning a Master of Laws. Among the class, nine students have earned concurrent degrees along with their Doctor of Jurisprudence, 3 earning Master of Business Administration, 2 earning Master of Community and Regional Planning, 1 earning Master of Conflict and Dispute Resolution, 1 earning Master of International Studies, 1 earning Master of Anthropology, and 1 earning Master of Science in Water Resources. One graduate of the class of 2018 is a Fulbright Scholar and 4 are scholars of the Oxford University Human Rights Consortium. More information about commencement can be found at