Oregon Law to honor Ellen Rosenblum and Minoru Yasui

Ellen Rosenblum

The University of Oregon School of Law will honor Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum and the late Minoru Yasui with the John E. Jaqua Distinguished Alumnus Award at its annual awards dinner Sept. 9.

The alumni reception and awards dinner at the Knight Law Center is part of Alumni Weekend celebrations Sept. 8-10. The school will also recognize Matthew Kuntz, Laura Salerno Owens and the late Al Kim with the Oregon Law Outstanding Young Alumnus Awards.

The John E. Jaqua Distinguished Alumnus Awards are given to graduates of the School of Law who exemplify the highest quality and ethical standards as well as great loyalty to the school.

Rosenblum earned her law degree at the UO in 1975. She later served as an assistant U.S. attorney in Eugene and Portland; an Oregon district, circuit, and court of appeals judge; and, most recently, as the first woman to serve as Oregon attorney general.

Minoru Yasui graduated from the UO with bachelor’s degree in 1937 and a law degree in 1939. He became the first Japanese-American admitted to the Oregon State Bar.

Through legal channels, advocacy with the Japanese American Citizens’ League and acts of civil disobedience, Yasui fought Executive Order 9066, the Japanese-American internment order, and its post-war effects from 1942 until his death in 1986. After more than 40 years, a federal court vacated Yasui’s wartime conviction in 1986.

In 2015, Yasui was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, for his lifelong commitment to civil rights and justice. An exhibit on Yasui's life is currently on display  in the Jaqua Law Library in the Knight Law Center.

Three recent alumni will also be recognized at the dinner with the Oregon Law Outstanding Young Alumnus Award.

Matthew Kuntz, a 2006 graduate, is a nationally recognized advocate for effective screening and treatment of post-traumatic stress injuries of returning service members. Laura Salerno Owens, a 2007 graduate, is a trial lawyer with broad experience representing employers and executives in single and class-action lawsuits.

Albert “Al” Kim, a 2006 graduate, was known for his service to others and his good nature while a student at the law school. Upon graduation, Kim served as a prosecutor for several years and later operated a successful law firm in Riverside, California, before he died in 2016.

The full schedule of Alumni Weekend events and activities, including tickets and registration, can be found at: Law.UOregon.edu/explore/Alumni-Weekend.