University of Oregon Law School holds first in-person commencement ceremony since 2019

Knight Law Center Building

The Honorable Judge John V. Acosta, JD ’82, will deliver address

The University of Oregon School of Law celebrates its Juris Doctorate (JD) and Master of Laws (LLM) Commencement on May 21. The University will confer more than 150 JD and LLM degrees this year. The ceremony will be held at 1:00 pm in the Matthew Knight Arena.

“We are excited to hold this ceremony in person. Our graduates have shown resilience over the past three years which shows through in the Oregon Law community,” said Marcilynn A. Burke, dean and Dave Frohnmayer Chair in Leadership and Law. “I am so proud of each graduate. They have worked hard to accomplish their goals during an ever-changing environment.”

Faculty Marshal will be Professor Suzanne Rowe, the Director of the Legal Research and Writing Program. Student Speakers include: Harjot R. Singh, President, Student Bar Association; Kaitlyn Lindaman, The JD Class Speaker; and Natalia Stojanowska, LLM Class Speaker. The Presentation of Class Gift will be given by Summer India Huber and Robert W. McMurtrie, Third-Year Class Representatives.

Commencement Address Speaker

The Honorable Judge John V. Acosta, JD ’82, will deliver this year’s commencement address. Acosta is a magistrate judge for the United States District of Oregon. He was appointed in March 2008.

His presence at this year’s graduation is significant for several reasons. Judge Acosta administered the Oath of Professionalism to this class in August 2019 when they began law school and facilitated the Summer Litigation Lab in 2020. Dedicated to teaching new generations of lawyers, he has mentored them throughout their time here in many ways, including staying in contact through email and holding office hours in the law school Commons. He serves as a judge at the law school for practicing students to present their legal analyses, and regularly hires students as judicial externs.

Judge Acosta has been recognized for his ethics and professionalism through many awards, including the law school’s Frohnmayer Public Service Award on April 8, 2022. In 2013 Oregon State Bar New Lawyers Division bestowed upon him the inaugural John V. Acosta Professionalism Award. The Oregon State Bar presented him with the Diversity and Inclusion Award and the Oregon Hispanic Bar Association recognized Judge Acosta with the Paul J. De Muniz Professionalism Award.

Over the years, Judge Acosta has been known for his work to make the legal profession more welcoming and inclusive to law students and lawyers of diverse backgrounds through his volunteer work with specialty bar organizations, the Federal Bar Association, Opportunities for Law in Oregon (OLIO), and the Oregon State Bar.

From 2002-2008, Judge Acosta was Senior Deputy General Counsel for the Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon. He worked at Stoel Rives LLP from 1987 to 2002, where he was a partner from 1994 to 2002. He was with Hughes, Thorsness, Gantz, Powell & Brundin from 1982 to 1987, where he became a partner in 1987.

He taught as an adjunct professor at the University of Oregon Law School from 2001 to 2007. Locally, he serves on nonprofit service organizations, participates in legal associations, coaches high school mock trial, and participates in many other give-back volunteer activities.

The Law School also will hold a reception on May 18 at the Knight Law Center for graduates, faculty, and staff. The event will include time to connect with peers and others who have been influential in their success.