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Trio of jurists to receive law school’s Distinguished Alumni Award

Tue, 05/06/2014

LAWRENCE — Three University of Kansas School of Law alumni with distinguished careers in the judiciary and public service are set to receive the school’s highest honor.

Retired Kansas Supreme Court Justice Edward Larson, Judge Mary Murguia of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit and Judge Julie Robinson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas will be honored with the law school’s Distinguished Alumni Award at an invitation-only ceremony Saturday, May 10, in Lawrence.

A veteran of the U.S. Air Force, Justice Edward Larson earned his KU law degree in 1960, then practiced law and served as a municipal judge in Hays. In 1987 he was appointed to the Kansas Court of Appeals and then tapped for the Kansas Supreme Court in 1995. He retired in 2002. In addition to his service on the bench, Larson served on the Kansas Board of Law Examiners, was president of the Kansas University Law Society, and served as a member of the Governor’s Committee on Children and Families and the Kansas Children’s Cabinet.

A former state and federal prosecutor, Judge Mary Murguia earned two bachelor’s degrees from KU in 1982 and her law degree in 1985. She began her legal career with the Wyandotte County District Attorney’s Office in Kansas City, Kansas. From 1990 to 2000, Murguia served in various prosecutorial and administrative roles in the District of Arizona U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Executive Office for United States Attorneys at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. In 2000, President Clinton appointed Murguia a U.S. district judge for the District of Arizona. She was the first Latina on a federal bench for that district. In 2010, she was nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit by President Obama. Murguia also served on KU Law’s Board of Governors and is a founding member of the law school’s Women’s Advisory Council.​

Judge Julie Robinson earned a bachelor’s in journalism at KU in 1978 and her law degree in 1981. Following law school, she clerked for Chief Bankruptcy Judge Benjamin E. Franklin and then served as an assistant U.S. attorney for 11 years, handling both civil litigation and criminal prosecutions. She served as a U.S. bankruptcy judge from 1994 to 2001, when she was appointed by President George W. Bush to the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas. Robinson was the first African-American woman to serve on that court. She is past-president of the KU Law Board of Governors and has taught Trial Advocacy as an adjunct professor at KU Law. Robinson is a trustee of the Saint Paul School of Theology, a fellow of the American Bar Foundation, a commissioner of the U.S. Supreme Court Fellow program and was recently appointed to the board of trustees of the American Inns of Court.

The Distinguished Alumni Award is presented annually to KU School of Law graduates who have distinguished themselves through exemplary service to the legal profession, their communities, the university, and the state or country. Since 1964, the school has honored 71 alumni “whose lives have benefited the community and whose noteworthy contributions throughout the year have brought honor to the School of Law.”

View previous Distinguished Alumni Award recipients on the law school’s website.

New recipients of the James Woods Green Medallion, named in honor of the law school’s first dean, will also be recognized at the ceremony. The school presents medallions to its major financial contributors. This year’s honorees include Terry Arthur, Class of 1969, and Virginia Thomas Arthur; Chevron Products Company; Mark M. Deatherage, Class of 1985; Fleeson, Gooing, Coulson & Kitch; David J. Gottlieb and Rita Sloan Gottlieb; Frederick B. Gould, Class of 1989, and Julie Pigott Gould; John W. Head and Lucia Orth Head; Harry H. Herington Jr., Class of 1993, and Cindy Herington; Leon and Lee T. Karelitz Trust; Kansas Women Attorneys Association;  Lucy E. Mason, Class of 1992, and Cris Sena; Madeleine M. McDonough, Class of 1990; Omer G. Voss Jr; Wagstaff & Cartmell LLP; Martha S. Warren, Class of 1987; and Perry D. Warren, Class of 1973, and Janet Beebe Warren.



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Wanna Skype? Chancellor gets creative to surprise Truman winner. See it here: http://bit.ly/1awodaa
Rock Chalk! Junior Ashlie Koehn named KU's 18th Truman Scholar
Ashlie Koehn, a University of Kansas junior from Burns studying in Kyrgyzstan, interrupted helping her host family prepare dinner to make a Skype call on Monday evening.

.@KU bschool 's KIP team includes @KU _SADP students in all-ages housing project. http://t.co/c6Ss0FsWLL #KUworks http://t.co/FW0eI69uRi
Wanna Skype? Chancellor gets creative to surprise Truman winner From KU News Service: http://bit.ly/1awodaa Ashlie Koehn, a University of Kansas junior from Burns studying in Kyrgyzstan, interrupted helping her host family prepare dinner to make a Skype call on Monday evening. To her surprise, Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little was on the other end of the call letting Koehn know she had been named a 2015 Harry S. Truman Scholar. Koehn is the 18th KU student to be named a Truman Scholar and the only 2015 recipient from the state of Kansas. Earlier this month, she was also named a 2015 Udall Scholar. And in spite of a distance of more than 10,800 kilometers and 11 time zones, Koehn’s thrill from hearing the news from the chancellor came through loud and clear. “Ashlie’s experience at KU epitomizes a quality undergraduate experience. She challenged herself in her coursework, exposed herself to different research opportunities, studied abroad in Germany, Switzerland and Kyrgyzstan, and participated in both student government and community service projects,” Gray-Little said. “This is quite a year for Ashlie. Her hard work is a wonderful reflection on her and also a great reflection on the university, and we all congratulate her.” Each new Truman Scholar receives up to $30,000 for graduate study. Scholars also receive priority admission and supplemental financial aid at some premier graduate institutions, leadership training, career and graduate school counseling, and special internship opportunities within the federal government. Koehn, a member of KU’s nationally recognized University Honors Program, is majoring in environmental studies, economics and international studies. Her goal after earning her KU degree is to pursue a master’s degree in economics at either the London School of Economics or the University of Reading, with a focus on the economics of climate change. In 2014, she received KU’s Newman Civic Engagement Award for her work establishing the Coalition against Slavery and Trafficking. Her involvement with the issue was sparked by Hannah Britton, associate professor of political science and women, gender, and sexuality studies, who hosted national conference on contemporary slavery at KU three years ago. “Ashlie and I met several times to think about what KU students could contribute to the issue of slavery and human trafficking, and the result was her founding of KU CAST,” Britton said. “After a year as president, Ashlie successfully handed the organization over to the next student leader. She demonstrated her strong leadership qualities by setting a unique goal and then pursuing it with her sense of passion, engagement and dedication. No matter the country or context, her leadership strength is evident in her coursework, her public service and her work experiences.” The University Honors Program works with a campus committee to select KU’s nominees for the Truman Scholarship and supports them during the application process. Anne Wallen, assistant director of national fellowships and scholarships, noted it was an amazing ruse to pull off the surprise. Originally, the call was set up to be between Wallen and Koehn. “I was totally not prepared to be greeted by Chancellor Gray-Little, but it was an amazing surprise for sure,” Koehn said. “As a first-generation student, it took time to learn the collegiate system, but my parents taught me to be resourceful and independent from a young age and KU and the Kansas Air National Guard have provided me with the opportunities to drive me into the future, both at graduate school and in my career. I plan to use the Truman Scholarship to pursue a career as an environmental economist helping to shape future trade agreements and leverage action on important international environmental issues, particularly concerning climate change.” Koehn also had a surprise of her own for the chancellor — the meal she was helping to prepare was not exactly typical Kansas dinner fare. On the menu with her host family in Kyrgyzstan on Monday was a traditional Kyrgyz meal called Beshbarmak, or “five fingers,” because you eat it with your hands. The dish is made of horse and sheep and was being prepared as a birthday celebration for Koehn’s host mom. Chancellor Gray-Little, as she signed off from Skype, made sure to encourage Koehn to enjoy her Beshbarmak. Koehn is the daughter of Rodney and Carolyn Koehn of Burns. She graduated from Fredric Remington High School in Moundridge. She is an active member of the Kansas Air National Guard and currently on leave while studying abroad in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. She is a member of the KU Global Scholars Program and a past member of the Student Senate. In addition to being named a 2015 Truman and Udall scholar, she was named a 2014 Boren Scholar and Gilman Scholar and in 2013 was named the Kansas Air National Guard Airman of the Year.


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