Hon. Paul De Muniz JD’75 honored with Literacy Trailblazer Award

by Patrick Riedling,

  • Hon. Paul De Muniz
    Former Oregon Supreme Court Justice Paul De Muniz JD'75 teaching class at Willamette University College of Law.

The Mid-Valley Literacy Center will honor former Oregon Supreme Court Chief Justice and Willamette University College of Law Distinguished Jurist-in-Residence Paul De Muniz JD ’75 with the Literacy Trailblazer Award on Friday, April 29, at its second annual Spotlight on Literacy Benefit Dinner and Awards. The event will be held at 6 p.m. at the Salvation Army Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center, 1865 Bill Frey Drive in Salem.

“The Literacy Trailblazer Award is presented to someone who has demonstrated commitment and support to different levels of literacy in our community,” said Vivian Ang, executive director of Mid-Valley Literacy Center. “We want to honor people who have dedicated their lives to educational support.”

De Muniz was raised by his mother in Portland, attended Portland's public schools, joined the U.S. Air Force, and served a one-year tour of duty in Vietnam. After his discharge from the service, De Muniz received his bachelor degree from Portland State University in 1972 and his juris doctor from Willamette University College of Law in 1975.

De Muniz was the first Hispanic American elected to statewide office in Oregon. In 2010, Hispanic Business Magazine named him among the 100 most influential Hispanics in America. Today, he sits on the Board of Trustees at Willamette University and the World Affairs Council of Oregon. De Muniz speaks frequently to both national and international audiences on the importance of maintaining independent state judiciaries, improving state court administration and the need for adequate state court funding.

De Muniz's work has been recognized with a number of state and national awards, among them: the National Judicial College's Distinguished Service Award, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers' Judicial Recognition Award, the Oregon Classroom Project's Legal Citizen of the Year Award, the Oregon Area Jewish Committee's Judge Learned Hand Lifetime Achievement Award, the Oregon Hispanic Bar Association's Paul J. De Muniz Professionalism Award, the Edwin J. Peterson Racial Reconciliation Award, and the Oregon Criminal Defense Lawyers' Association Kenneth Morrow Lifetime Achievement Award.

About the Mid-Valley Literacy Center

The Mid-Valley Literacy Center empowers adults with literacy skills needed to increase their economic stability and overall quality of family life. Since its start in 2009, the center has trained 580 tutors and taught 2,000 students; 186 of those students have gone on to earn their GED. Located at 1850 45th St. NE, in Salem, the center accepts calls in both English and Spanish at (503) 463-1488. The Literacy Center thrives on the involvement of trained tutors. Training sessions are designed to prepare volunteers to teach English skills and/or help adults prepare for their GED. Tutors who are over 18 years of age do not need to speak or understand a language other than English.

About Willamette University College of Law

Opened in 1883, Willamette University College of Law is the first law school in the Pacific Northwest. The college has a long tradition at the forefront of legal education and is committed to the advancement of knowledge through excellent teaching, scholarship, mentoring and experience. Leading faculty, thriving externship and clinical law programs, ample practical skills courses, and a proactive career placement office prepare Willamette law students for today's legal job market. According to statistics compiled by the American Bar Association, Willamette ranks first in the Pacific Northwest for job placement for full-time, long-term, JD-preferred/JD-required jobs for the class of 2014 and first in Oregon for the classes of 2012, 2013 and 2014. Located across the street from the state capitol complex and the Oregon Supreme Court in downtown Salem, the college specializes in law and government, law and business, and dispute resolution.