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Miss Oregon, Willamette Law offer new scholarship

by Jennifer Johnson,

Miss Oregon 2021

A generous new scholarship will benefit Miss Oregon contestants who are admitted to Willamette Law beginning fall 2023. 

Current and past contestants of the Miss Oregon Scholarship Program will be eligible for up to 50% off tuition annually if they meet certain criteria. Applications are due between Sept. 1 and June 15 of the year prior to the one intended for study. 

Assistant Dean of Admissions Leah Straley presented the first Miss Oregon Law School Scholarship to Abigail Hayes of Damascus, Miss Oregon 2021, at a recent competition for the organization in Seaside. 

Miss Oregon students
from left: Miss Oregon 2021 Abigail Hayes, Assistant dean of admissions Leah Straley, first runner up for Miss Oregon 2022 and incoming Willamette Law student Hannah Garhofer and Miss Oregon 2003 April Robinson JD ’23. 

“Over the last several decades, law schools have seen an increase in women applying to and attending law school,” she said at the event. “Let’s keep that momentum going.”  

Founded in 1947, the Miss Oregon Scholarship Program highlights the unique aspects of each woman and their personal success, whether in the form of community service, the arts or academics. The program annually supports contestants’ educational and professional goals — in 2022, it awarded over $171,000 in cash and in-kind scholarships, as well as $51,000 in prizes focused on personal and professional development.

The new scholarship represents aligned goals between Miss Oregon and Willamette Law. Social impact, leadership and service are central to Miss Oregon’s mission, while the law school aims to advance graduates who become community leaders and changemakers, said Straley. 

It’s also not the first connection between the two organizations. Miss Oregon President Blaine Barklow graduated from Willamette in 2005, April Robinson JD ’23 is Miss Oregon 2003 and Lucy Jensen JD/MBA ’13 is Miss Oregon 2005.

Jensen, who is principal legal counsel at Sunrun in Park City, Utah, is also a member of the College of Law Leadership Cabinet and a former Willamette trustee.  

Executive Director Beth McShane said the partnership is an exciting one that will boost the quality of candidates in both programs. 

“The Miss Oregon Scholarship Program is thrilled Willamette is helping us prepare great women for the world, and prepare the world for great women,” she said. 

Academic requirements for scholarship applicants must be met for eligibility and scholarships are renewable each year the applicant is enrolled at the college and remains in good standing. 

About Willamette University College of Law

Willamette University 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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