Judith Otamura-Kester, Hon. Otis Wright and Anita Glasco Honored at Annual Alumni Event
During an emotional evening, the Southwestern community came together to salute three individuals who have contributed significantly to the legal profession, the law school and the greater community at the 23rd Annual Awards Recognition Reception, Silent Auction and Reunion held in April. The late Judith K. Otamura-Kester '77, a prominent attorney and former president of Southwestern's Alumni Board of Directors, was posthumously honored as Alumna of the Year; the Hon. Otis D. Wright II '80, Judge of the United States District Court for the Central District of California, was recognized as Outstanding Judicial Officer; and Anita L. Glasco, Professor of Law Emeritus, received recognition as Outstanding Friend.
Throughout her 25 years of service at Southwestern, Professor Glasco taught a variety of international and comparative law courses, such as Contracts, Comparative Law, Chinese Law and Institutions, Remedies and SCALE, and served as a faculty advisor to numerous student groups. Upon her retirement in 1998, she was appointed Professor Emeritus. "It's been a long time since I have been in front of a microphone," Professor Glasco said. "I've been a 'friend' of Southwestern since 1972. I am so honored to be recognized this year, and I can't thank you enough."
Inducted as a judge of the United States District Court for the Central District of California in 2007, Judge Wright presides over cases from Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo counties. Prior to this, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed him to the Superior Court in 2005, where he was assigned to the Substance Abuse Court. "Sometimes there are things you just wish your parents could witness," Judge Wright said as he accepted his award. He said that before arriving at the reception, he spent his Thursday afternoon in typical fashion, presiding over the substance abuse treatment and reentry (STAR) program. "In 2001, I just missed a plane that [wound up being highjacked and] flown into the World Trade Center. My wife and I decided fate intervened for a reason... this drug treatment program gives my life meaning. "
Ms. Kester served as Associate General Counsel and Managing Director of the global investment bank and institutional securities firm Jefferies & Company, Inc. She was also a member of the Southwestern Alumni Board of Directors for more than 13 years and served as its President from 2003 to 2005. Steve Kester, her husband of 30 years and also a Southwestern alumnus, tearfully accepted the award on her behalf. "Judy was beautiful inside and out. She had true character. She was passionate about life and the law," he said. He described how they met as law students at Southwestern, and registered for their wedding china in the Bullocks Wilshire Building. "She would have been enormously proud to receive this."
This annual event provides the Alumni Association and other members of the Southwestern community with the opportunity to recognize alumni and friends for their outstanding service. In addition to the awards ceremony and cocktail reception, the evening featured a silent auction benefiting the Alumni Scholarship Fund, and a reunion for the classes (in five year increments) between 1960 and 2000.