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Guest Blog Entry: ABAS Celebration 2012

Posted By Kevin R. Johnson, Apr 13, 2012

Here is a guest blog entry from Director of Marketing and Communications Pamela Wu, who was the emcee for the Asian/Pacific Bar Association of Sacramento (ABAS) Annual Celebration Dinner earlier this week.  Thanks, Pam!
For the third year in a row, I was honored to be the emcee for ABAS’s annual dinner.  This year’s dinner was held inside the Tsakopoulos Library Galleria in downtown Sacramento.  King Hall's alumni and students featured prominently throughout the evening.
Professor Richard Frank '74, California Court of Appeal Justice Andrea Hoch, and California Supreme Court Justice Goodwin Liu.  Photo by Tia Gemmell.

Attendees included Senior Assistant Dean Hollis Kulwin, Assistant Dean Craig Compton, Professor Rick Frank '74, California Court of Appeal Justice Louis Mauro '87, Alumni Board members including Kara Ueda '00, Grace Arupo '02, Judge Judy Holzer Hersher '84, Judge Stacy Boulware-Eurie '95, and Gene Woo '85, as well as Judge Larry Brown '89 and many, many other King Hall grads. 

Alum Derek Ledda ’79 was recognized with the ABAS Community Service Award.  Three of our students, Herman Cheung ’13, Michael Wu ‘12, and Melanie Young ’13 (pictured below), were awarded scholarships from the ABAS Law Foundation.


For me, the highlight of the evening was the keynote speech by California Supreme Court Justice Goodwin Liu.  Justice Liu will deliver the commencement address for the King Hall Class of 2012 at its ceremony on May 17, so I was really looking forward to hearing him speak.

Justice Liu, a Sacramento native, delivered a speech that was at once smart, humble, and clever.  He said it was good to be back home (He was joined at the dinner by his parents, who still live in Sacramento, and his high school art teacher.) and reminisced about how he had visited the Capitol Rotunda as a child during Jerry Brown’s first governorship.  He said he never imagined that someday, in the same Rotunda, Governor Brown would swear him in as a Supreme Court Justice.  “Life does have a funny way of coming full circle,” he smiled.  He also talked about how he had planned for a career in medicine before switching courses to go to law school.  He was inspired by the late Congressman from Sacramento, Robert Matsui.  Also a lawyer, Matsui helped Liu land a job as a Congressional page.  (He joked, “For those of you who are too young to know what pages are, we were the equivalent of e-mail communication before the Internet.”)  It was his first exposure to law and politics, and it made a lasting impression. 

Justice Liu spoke about the importance of mentorship, citing Congressman Matsui and Harold Koh, legal advisor to the State Department former Yale Law School Dean, as the two mentors who had the greatest influence on his legal career.  Congresswoman Doris Matsui (Bob’s widow and successor in the House of Representatives) was in the audience, and I could tell that she was touched by the kind words that Justice Liu had for her husband.  

ABAS Law Foundation President Yoshinori Toso Himel '75, Congresswoman Doris Matsui, California Supreme Court Justice Goodwin Liu, Gubernatorial Appointments Secretary Mona Pasquil, and ABAS Community Service Award recipient Derek Ledda '79Photo by Tia Gemmell.

Liu received a standing ovation after his speech.  Let me assure the Class of 2012 – you guys are getting a fantastic commencement speaker!

Thanks, ABAS, for the opportunity to participate in this year’s annual dinner.  Congratulations on an outstanding event!