Washington State Supreme Court Justice Susan Owens will deliver the keynote address at Peninsula College's 48th commencement ceremonies at 2 p.m. Saturday, June 12. Title of her address is "Why Bother?"
Owens is the seventh woman to serve on the Washington State Supreme Court. She was elected to that post Nov. 7, 2000, after serving 19 years as District Court judge in western Clallam County, where she was the county's senior elected official with five terms.
She also served as the Quileute Tribe's chief judge for five years and chief judge of the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe for more than six years.
Owens was born and raised in Kinston, N.C. She graduated from Duke University in 1971 and received her J.D. in 1975 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She was admitted to the Oregon State Bar in 1975 and the Washington State Bar in 1976.
She has been active in the District and Municipal Court Judges' Association for many years. She was president-elect of DMCJA prior to her election to the Supreme Court. She previously served as vice president, secretary-treasurer and on its board.
She also served on the Long-range Planning, Diversity, Conference and Education committees. In 1990, she was co-founder and chairwoman of the Rural Courts Committee and has taught that subject at the Judicial College.
Owens says she is passionate about domestic violence issues that impact children and about judicial education in that area. She has been a national trainer in the subject and has trained judges from Anchorage, Alaska, to Albuquerque, N.M.
She also helped write the Northwest Tribal Judges Domestic Violence Manual and she lectures at the National College of Prosecuting Attorneys' Domestic Violence Conference.
Owens serves on the Rules Committee, chairs the Court Interpreter Certification Advisory Commission and serves on the Board for Court Education.
The commencement ceremony will be held in the college gymnasium on the Port Angeles campus. A reception will follow immediately.
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