Oregon Law to hold virtual and in-person commencement activities for 2021 graduates

Throwing the O

2021 JD Class Throwing the O at Orientation in August 2018

Eugene, Oregon. May 6, 2021

The University of Oregon School of Law will launch its virtual Juris Doctorate and Master of Laws Commencement on Saturday, May 15. The 135th commencement ceremony will be offered through a live watch party with graduates at 11:00 a.m. PDT and then made available on the school’s commencement page at 12:30 p.m.

More than 130 JD and LLM degrees are expected to be conferred. This pre-recorded ceremony will include traditional remarks by administrators, students, and faculty, as well as individual videos featuring each 2021 JD and LLM graduate. The Law School will hold an in-person commencement reception the day prior, May 14, at the Knight Law Center for graduates, faculty, and staff. The event will include a stage crossing and will comply with all COVID-19 health and safety guidelines.

“Our law graduates have faced many extreme challenges over the past three years. They have met these tests with the resolve and positive attitude for which the Oregon Law community is known,” said Marcilynn A. Burke, dean and Dave Frohnmayer Chair in Leadership and Law. “I am extremely proud of each one of them. They are truly prepared for the dynamic times that lie ahead.”

Commencement Address Speaker

The Honorable Martha Lee Walters, JD ’77, Chief Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court, will deliver this year’s Commencement Address. Chief Justice Walters has demonstrated a lifelong commitment to civic engagement and equal access to the law. She is the first woman to preside over the state's highest court. Elected by her colleagues, she began service July 1, 2018, as Oregon's 44th Chief Justice.

Before joining the court, Chief Justice Walters practiced law for almost 30 years, emphasizing employment and labor law, as well as general civil practice. Walters was the founder and president of the Eugene law firm of Walters, Chanti and Zennache. In 1998, she was given the Public Justice Award by the Oregon Trial Lawyers. She served as a delegate to the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws and as a member of the American Law Institute.

One of her best-known cases was about obtaining the required accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act for a professional golfer who had a disability. She represented disabled golfer Casey Martin in his lawsuit against the PGA Tour to allow Martin to use a golf cart during tournaments.

In 2007 after four years in other leadership positions, Chief Justice Walters was elected as the first woman president of the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws. She still serves on this commission.

Walters was born and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan. After high school she attended the University of Michigan, where she graduated in 1972 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. Walters earned her JD from the University of Oregon School of Law, graduating in 1977 and being selected as a member of the honorary scholastic society, the Order of the Coif.