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Commencement speaker

Justice Adrienne C. Nelson

Justice Adrienne C. Nelson

Oregon Supreme Court

Justice Adrienne Nelson was appointed to the Oregon Supreme Court on January 2, 2018, becoming the first Black person to sit on the state’s highest court and on any appellate state court. Her election to a six-year term in November 2018 made her the first Black woman elected statewide in Oregon. In 2006, she was appointed as a trial judge on the Multnomah County Circuit Court in Portland, Oregon, making her the second Black female judge in the state of Oregon.

Justice Nelson is a sought-after speaker on a variety of topics including diversity, inclusion, equity, community engagement, leadership, and professional development.
Throughout her career, Justice Nelson has been involved in many national, state, local, and specialty bar associations, often serving in a leadership capacity. She is currently the Chair of the Oregon Supreme Court Council on Inclusion and Fairness, the American Bar Association (ABA) Diversity and Inclusion Center and the Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council.

In the community, she sits on the Oregon Historical Society Board of Trustees, the Literary Arts Board of Directors, the Reed College Board of Trustees and the Oregon Community Foundation Portland Leadership Council where she chairs the Connection to the Black Communities committee. She also sits on the Girl Scouts Beyond the Bars (GSBB) Advisory Board of which she formerly chaired.

In addition, Justice Nelson serves as a mentor to many people. She is often recognized by a wide variety of community and professional organizations for her service and mentorship to others. Justice Nelson is a connector and encourager, helping people succeed by living their best lives.

Willamette University

College of Law

Office of Student Affairs
Willamette University
245 Winter Street SE
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.