Solomon Oliver ’69 Named Recipient of Distinguished Kutak Award

American Bar Association to honor Wooster alumnus at annual meeting

July 25, 2018   /  

WOOSTER, Ohio – Solomon Oliver Jr., a 1969 alumnus of The College of Wooster who served as the Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio from 2010-17, will receive the 2018 Robert J. Kutak Award on Friday, Aug. 3, at the American Bar Association’s annual meeting at the InterContinental Chicago.

Solomon Oliver

The Kutak Award has been presented each year since 1984 to an individual who has made significant contributions to the collaboration of the legal academy, the bench, and the bar, according to the ABA. Among previous recipients of the prestigious honor was Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

Oliver was appointed to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio by President Bill Clinton in 1994. He first served the Cleveland district as an assistant attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office from 1976-82, including as the chief of the civil division and chief of appellate litigation. From 1982-94, he was a professor of law at Cleveland State University’s Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, serving as associate dean for three years.

Additionally, Oliver had the privilege of sitting by designation on the U.S. Sixth, Ninth, and Third Circuit Courts of Appeal, and he has served as a member of the teaching faculty at Harvard Law School’s annual trial advocacy workshop.

“Few members of the legal community equal Judge Oliver in fulfilling the spirit of the Kutak Award through fostering the collaboration of the academy, the bench, and the bar. Judge Oliver is one of those rare individuals who has been a practicing lawyer in the U.S. Attorney’s Office, a legal educator as a professor … and a member of the judiciary as a U.S. District Court judge. This broad and varied experience has made him an informed, astute, and pragmatic leader … (and) as a current representative to the ABA House of Delegates, he brings unprecedented credibility and perspective. Judge Oliver’s commitment to diversity has been a crucial factor in moving forward many critical initiatives related to ensuring and improving access to legal education,” stated Joan Howland, chair of the Kutak Award committee.

Oliver double majored in philosophy and political science while at Wooster, then earned a master’s degree in political science at Case Western University and a juris doctor from New York University School of Law.

Oliver has been the recipient of a number of honors, including distinguished alumni awards from Wooster, where he is a member of the board of trustees, and NYU’s Black, Latino, Asian Pacific American Law Alumni Association. He is a member of the American Law Institute and the American Bar Foundation.