Search Google Appliance


Memorial for Justice Betty Roberts
Thursday, July 28, 2011 - 4:00pm
Memorial for Justice Betty Roberts

The public is invited to attend a memorial for Justice Betty Roberts, the first woman on the Oregon Supreme Court. 

When: 4 p.m. Thursday, July 28

Where: Smith Memorial Student Union, Ballroom, 1825 SW Broadway, Portland

An alumna of PSU, Roberts was a woman of firsts. In the 1960s, Roberts was one of the few women to serve in the Oregon Legislature; in 1977 she became the first woman to be appointed to the Oregon Court of Appeals; and in 1982 she reached the pinnacle of state judicial service by becoming the first woman to serve on the Oregon Supreme Court. Over her many decades of service in Oregon, she became known to other women in law and politics as "The Dean," and served as an example to women of what can be achieved, through persistence and courage, in a world largely still run by men. Justice Roberts retired from the Oregon Supreme Court in 1986. But not one to rest after more than 20 years in the legislature and on the courts, she continued with a professional career as a mediator/arbitrator, helping to pioneer and expand alternative dispute resolution.

Throughout her career in public service, Justice Roberts served as an example to all leaders and demonstrated an unmatched dedication to gender equality and parity. She was a visiting professor of political science at Oregon State University, a board member of numerous state and local organizations, including the alumni associations of both Lewis & Clark law school and Portland State University, a consultant for state political leaders, and author of an extraordinary memoir, With Grit and by Grace: Breaking Trails in Politics and Law. In June, PSU awarded Roberts an honorary doctorate.

Justice Roberts will be remembered at PSU for her commitment to helping future generations of women in politics in her role as a Founders Circle member of the PSU Center for Women, Politics and Policy, which has a goal of increasing women's leadership in public policy. Her continuing legacy will be accessible to students, researchers and the public in a special collection of her papers at the PSU Millar Library.

Justice Roberts died June 25 at the age of 88.