‘Celebrating King Hall’ Honors Professor Joh, Darrell Steinberg ’84

Professor Elizabeth Joh was honored with the William and Sally Rutter 2017 Distinguished Teaching Award and Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg ’84 accepted the 2017 Distinguished Alumnus Award at “Celebrating King Hall,” held March 2 at the UC Davis ARC Ballroom. The event brought together about 250 members of the King Hall community to recognize excellence in teaching, to honor scholarship donors and recipients, and to hear remarks from Dean Kevin R. Johnson, Professor Joh, Mayor Steinberg, Professor Floyd Feeney, Alumni Board Member Craig Judson ’84, and student Jessica Martinez ’19.

Celebrating King Hall

“The past year has been a time of remarkable accomplishments at the School of Law, amazing things done by our faculty, students, and Immigration Law Clinic,” Dean Johnson said in his opening remarks. He mentioned his particular pride in the outstanding King Hall faculty, “the only ‘majority-minority’ faculty of any leading American law school,” as well as the public service work performed by students and alumni.

“There are so many reasons to be proud of UC Davis School of Law,” he said. “But nothing makes me more proud than seeing our faculty, students, and alumni turn ideals of public service into action. Thank you all for all that you do!”

Jessica Martinez, a recipient of the Dean’s Merit Scholarship and the David and Mariana Beatty Scholarship, delivered inspiring remarks about the all-important role scholarships have played in her legal education.

“As a first generation college graduate and law school student, I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for the financial help I received from King Hall and from incredible donors like Mr. and Mrs. David and Mariana Beatty,” she said. “Scholarships like these are so important because they relieve us of some of our financial burdens and allow us to get more involved in our studies and our work.  Not only has the scholarship helped me financially, but it has also reminded me of how privileged I am to have this opportunity and encouraged me to work even harder to achieve my dreams of helping my community and my family.”

Professor Joh said she felt “honored and humbled” to be received the Distinguished Teaching Award. She thanked William and Sally Rutter for establishing the award, and expressed gratitude to her students and colleagues, especially Professors Floyd Feeney, Margaret Johns, and Alan Brownstein, for helping her to develop as a teacher. She said that from the time she arrived at UC Davis School of Law in 2003 it was impressed upon her by then-Dean Rex Perschbacher and others that “King Hall was a place where teaching really matters.”

“Coming to King Hall meant joining a community that really emphasized dedication to teaching,” said Joh. “We were scholars, but we were also supposed to be teachers, and that tradition I firmly believe continues to this day.”

Mayor Steinberg, whose award was presented by the King Hall Alumni Association, closed out the evening with remarks expressing fond remembrances of his time at King Hall and his gratitude for the opportunities his legal education had provided. He talked about the need to continue the School of Law’s legacy of public service, and to make an effort to understand opposing viewpoints during turbulent times.

“If you can focus on what you care about, be passionate, but care about other people including those who may be on the other side, this life and this career that King Hall gave me and is giving you is an incredible blessing,” said Steinberg. “I can’t tell you how tickled I am to be named the second recipient of this award, with my classmate [Chief Justice of California Tani Cantil-Sakauye ’84] appropriately being named the first honoree. This really means the world to me, because you know that old saying, ‘everything I learned, I learned in kindergarten’? I think most of what I learned, I learned at King Hall.”

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