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Cruz Reynoso: Celebrating a Lifetime of Achievement

By Claudia Morain on August 23, 2007 in

Saturday, Sept. 15 -- The University of California, Davis, will bestow its highest honor on law school professor emeritus and former California Supreme Court Justice Cruz Reynoso at a gala honoring his lifetime achievements. Reynoso will receive the UC Davis Medal at a ceremony scheduled from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Robert and Margit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts at UC Davis.

Reynoso served as the inaugural Boochever and Bird Chair for the Study and Teaching of Freedom and Equality at the UC Davis School of Law from 2001 through his retirement in December 2006. He was a professor of law at the University of New Mexico from 1972 to 1976 and at UCLA from 1991 to 2001.

The son of migrant farmworkers, Reynoso was born in Brea, Calif., on May 2, 1931. He graduated from Pomona College in 1953, earned his law degree from UC Berkeley's Boalt Hall in 1958 and devoted the next five decades of his life to public service.

Reynoso was assistant chief of the California Fair Employment Practices Commission, associate general counsel of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and director of California Rural Legal Assistance. He was appointed associate justice of the California Courts of Appeal in 1976. In 1982, then-Gov. Edmund G. "Jerry" Brown Jr. appointed Reynoso as the first Latino associate justice of the California Supreme Court.

Reynoso also earned the respect and admiration of presidents. President Carter appointed him to serve on the Select Commission on Immigration and Refugee Policy and President Clinton appointed him to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. In 2000, Clinton awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country's highest civilian honor, for his lifelong commitment to public service.

Reynoso has also been honored with the Hispanic Heritage Foundation's Hispanic Heritage Award in Education and the American Bar Association's Robert J. Kutak and Spirit of Excellence Awards.

The event is free and open to the public.

For more information about the evening tribute, visit: http://www.law.ucdavis.edu/cruz

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