The Honorable Charles Johnson - our 2021 Distinguished Alumnus

Submitted by Ellen E Gregoire on

The Department of Economics is pleased to announce our 2021 Distinguished Alumnus, Associate Chief Justice Charles Johnson of the Washington State Supreme Court. Justice Johnson gave the keynote address at this year’s departmental graduation celebration, which is being held virtually to ensure the safety of all participants, and is now able to be viewed. 

Justice Johnson was born in Tacoma, and attended Curtis High School near Tacoma. He graduated from the UW in 1974, with a BA in Economics. He then went on to earn his Juris Doctorate at the University of Puget Sound School of Law (now Seattle University School of Law) in 1976, working his way through law school at a Tacoma lumber mill.

Justice Johnson began service on the Washington State Supreme Court in January 1991, and is the longest serving member of the court. Throughout his many years of service, he has served as chair of the Washington State Supreme Court's Rules Committee (since 1996), and served as co-chair of the Washington State Minority and Justice Commission for 25 years. In addition, he co-chaired the 2004 Task Force on Civil Equal Justice Funding.

Justice Johnson remains active at Seattle University School of Law, where he is a Distinguished Jurist in Residence. He was an adjunct professor at Seattle University School of Law from 1995-2010, teaching a comprehensive seminar on state constitutional law. He has received national recognition for his contribution to legal education, having been awarded the 2012 John J. McAulay Legal Educator Award for his dedication to the principles and ideals of integrity, compassion, courage, and professional service.

Justice Johnson has also served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Washington Association for Children and Parents and the Visiting Committee of the UW School of Social Work. He has been a member of the World Affairs Council and City Club of Tacoma.

The Department of Economics is proud to have many notable alumni among its thousands of graduates. Collectively, our alumni have had a profound impact in the public and private sectors of the state, the nation, and the world.

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