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鶹Ƶɰ汾 Law to celebrate its 138th Commencement on May 19

by Jessica Rotter,

The College of Law will welcome JoAnne Brandes JD’78 as the keynote speaker for its 138th Commencement held at 10:30 a.m., Sunday, May 19, on the Quad. The ceremony will also honor Judge Norman Hill JD’94 as the Law Faculty Member of the Year, Professor Robin Maril as the recipient of the Robert L. Misner Award for Law Faculty Scholarship, and graduate Madeline Hueske JD'24 as the Class of 2024 valedictorian. 

Commencement Speaker

JoAnne Brandes
JoAnne Brandes

JoAnne Brandes is a graduate of 鶹Ƶɰ汾 College of Law. During law school she served as Comment Editor for the 鶹Ƶɰ汾 Law Review. She retired after a long career with the S.C. Johnson family of companies as the Executive Vice President, CAO, General Counsel and Secretary of JohnsonDiversey, Inc., responsible for all legal matters, Human Resources, Communications, Public Affairs and administration for the company and its over 65 international and domestic subsidiaries. JoAnne was a member of the company’s management committee and had major responsibility for the company’s acquisition and integration within a few years of global companies adding over $2 billion in sales. 

JoAnne is a founder of the Leadership Excellence Center and a speaker and consultant on leadership development, corporate structure and governance, and cultural transformation. Her expertise and dedication have been recognized through numerous awards and honors, and she has also served as an outside Board member for several organizations. 

JoAnne has been a trailblazer and advocate for women in the workplace throughout her lifetime.  During her time at S.C. Johnson, she successfully advocated for a workplace childcare facility to help working mothers at SC Johnson in addition to a number of other family-friendly programs for employees. Her work led to SC Johnson being named to the list of the 10 Best Companies for Working Mothers and JoAnne being named Working Mother of the Year by Working Mother Magazine. 

Law Faculty Member of the Year Award

Judge Norman Hill
Judge Norman Hill

As voted by the graduating class, the Law Faculty Member of the Year Award is given annually to the faculty member whose teaching has had a significant impact on the class. This year’s award will go to Judge Norman Hill.

Judge Hill joined the 鶹Ƶɰ汾 Law faculty in 2008 and has taught courses around real estate transactions and juvenile law. He also teached the winter intersession Intensive Trial Practice course - a highlight amongst law students. 

Following a successful career in private practice, Judge Hill was appointed as judge in Polk County by former Governor John Kitzhaber in 2012. He is now the presiding judge for the 12th Judicial District Circuit Court of Oregon in Polk County and hears juvenile cases. Throughout his tenure, he has worked to reform the judicial system and was a driving force behind a program for people charged with minor crimes and showed serious, long-term mental health challenges. He was instrumental in establishing the Polk County Mental Health Court, known as Friday Court, that serves as an intensive dual diagnosis treatment court where participants receive medication, treatment, and are held accountable with regular drug testing and meetings. 

He has been an active member of the local community, and was the president of the West Salem Rotary, board member for Family Building Blocks, and president of the West Salem Little League. Judge Hill coached youth sports and high school mock trial teams. 

In 2022, he was honored with Oregon’s lifetime contribution award in recognition of his achievement in juvenile law and child welfare. 

Amongst students, Judge Hill is known as an engaged and supportive professor. He incorporates his experience as an active member of the bench in his curriculum by teaching students about hands-on attorney skills. As such, the Class of 2024 found it fitting to recognize his ongoing commitment to the College of Law. 

“Judge Hill has devoted his career to helping others - both our students and also Oregonians more broadly. I am thrilled that our students chose to honor his commitment and dedication as a professor, attorney, and judge.”-says Dean Brian Gallini

Robert L. Misner Award for Faculty Scholarship

Professor Robin Maril
Professor Robin Maril

As recommended by the College of Law and awarded by the Office of the Provost, the Robert L. Misner Award for Law Faculty Scholarship is awarded each year to a 鶹Ƶɰ汾 College of Law professor whose scholarship has contributed significantly to the national or international legal canon. 

This year’s recipient is Professor Robin Maril. Professor Maril teaches constitutional law, administrative law, and health law. Her scholarship explores the intersection of constitutional law and administrative law with a focus on nondiscrimination, religious freedom, and LGBTQ equality. 

Professor Maril's most recent work draws connections between the health of American democracy and civil rights -- particularly LGBTQ rights. She is currently working on a book project, entitled "A Queer Guide to Saving Democracy," which will be published in spring 2025 by Cambridge University Press. This book will address the rise of anti-LGBTQ attacks and the role that mandated gender conformity and restrictions on bodily and reproductive autonomy have historically played in right wing campaigns. Beyond this book project, and just this past spring alone, Professor Maril had her most recent article, "Originalism and Democratic Decline," accepted for publication in the Maryland Law Review, and her article "Power at the Fault Lines: A Queer and Transgender Model for Democratic Defense," published by the Southern California Interdisciplinary Law Journal

In addition to publishing multiple scholarly articles a year, Professor Maril also finds time to publish an array of op-eds every year and speak at events such as South by Southwest, reaching an audience outside of the traditional legal academy and jurists. 

"Professor Maril's scholarly work is an inspiration to me as a legal academic and as someone who shares her vision for a more inclusive world. From her work on reproductive rights and freedom and life post-Dodds to her passionate fight for our democracy, she is so deserving of this recognition and I always look forward to hearing what she has to say next,” says Associate Dean and Professor Karen Sandrik

Aristeion Symeon Symeonides Award

Madeline Hueske
Madeline Hueske

As valedictorian, Madeline Hueske will receive the Aristeion Symeon Symeonides Award for having earned the highest grades in the class. Established in 2010, this award is given every year at commencement to the student with the highest GPA in the College of Law graduating class. The award is also accompanied by a commemorative plaque and a medallion to be worn at commencement. The award was named for and funded by the 19th dean of 鶹Ƶɰ汾 Law, Symeon C. Symeonides

Ceremony Details 

The in-person commencement ceremony will take place on Sunday, May 19, at 10:30 a.m. PDT, on the Quad at 鶹Ƶɰ汾. The ceremony will also be broadcast live online.

About 鶹Ƶɰ汾 College of Law

鶹Ƶɰ汾 College of Law was the first law school to open in the Pacific Northwest. Building on deep historic roots, we focus with pride on educating the next generation of problem-solving lawyers and leaders. Our location in Salem, Oregon, directly across the street from the Oregon State Capitol and Supreme Court, cannot be matched in the region. Our thought-leading scholars advance and promote our shared responsibility to make a difference in society, placing justice, fairness, and equality at the heart of everything we do.

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