Santa Clara Law Social Justice and Human Rights
Award Winners - 2012
Judge Phyllis Hamilton was born and raised in Jacksonville, Illinois. After the death of her mother at a very young age, she was raised by her maternal aunt who worked in the laundry of the town's largest employer, the state hospital. Judge Hamilton was the first member of her family to attend college and is the only one in her family who has obtained a professional degree. She received her B.A. from Stanford University in 1974 and her J.D. from the Santa Clara University, School of Law in 1976, cum laude.
Judge Hamilton’s legal career began as the Deputy Public Defender at the California State Public Defender's Office in San Francisco where she provided appellate representation for indigent criminal defendants. In 1980, Judge Hamilton began her career as a judicial officer serving as an Administrative Judge for the United States Merit Systems Protection Board in San Francisco. Then in 1985, she was appointed as the first African-American Court Commissioner of the Oakland Municipal Court at the relatively young age of 33. She served as Court Commissioner until 1991 when she was appointed to the United States District Court for the Northern District of California to serve as its first African-American Magistrate Judge. Judge Hamilton held that post until she was appointed by President Clinton on May 25, 2000, as United States District Judge for the Northern District of California. She serves in that position with life tenure and handles all manner of federal cases, both civil and criminal. She recently relocated her chambers from San Francisco to Oakland.
Judge Hamilton continues to participate in mentoring programs for high school and law students as well as training and continuing education programs for lawyers. She serves on various committees for both the Northern District and the Ninth Circuit and serves as Chair of the Rules Committee for the Northern District and Chair of the Wellness Committee for the Ninth Circuit. She is also a member of the National Association of Women Judges and the Charles Houston Bar Association and the Federal Judges Association. Judge Hamilton currently lives in Oakland with her husband Steve Rowell.
Andrew Vu was born in Saigon, Vietnam and grew up during the Vietnam War. Days before the fall of Saigon in April, 1975, Vu’s family boarded a helicopter and fled Vietnam. He and his family arrived in Seattle, where local churches supported the family. The family eventually settled down in the Silicon Valley where Vu’s parents found work on the assembly line to support their five boys. His early childhood experience is what continues to drive Vu’s commitment to creating stronger communities and supporting others to succeed.
Vu went on to receive a B.A. from UCLA and receive a J.D. from the Santa Clara University School of Law. After graduating from Santa Clara Law, Vu began his practice with the San Jose City Attorney’s Office where he defended the city in wrongful termination suits, civil rights suits, and general civil litigation. Vu then went on to serve as an Assistant District Attorney for the City and County of San Francisco where he prosecuted and tried serious and violent felonies. In 2000, Vu left the public sector and began his corporate law career, first, as corporate counsel to Sony PlayStation, then as an Assistant General Counsel at SAP, one of the world’s largest and leading business software company. Vu is currently a Senior Associate General Counsel at Walmart Global eCommerce, managing the legal support for intellectual property matters, as well as online marketing and merchandising departments.
Throughout Vu’s dynamic legal career, he has continued to be an active leader in his community. Vu is the co-founder of the Vietnamese American Bar Association of Northern California and a former president of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Silicon Valley.. He has also co-founded the Asian Pacific Islander Justice Coalition of the Silicon Valley, a network of over 25 non-profit organizations that seek to unite, empower, and advocate for social justice within the Asian Pacific Islander (API) community. In June 2008, after the California Supreme Court invalidated the prohibition against same sex marriage, Vu and his long term partner of sixteen years, Thanh Ngo, were legally married.
As a result of his contribution, Vu is the recipient of such awards as the 2006 Asian American Heroes Award Honoree, awarded by Santa Clara County Board Supervisor Liz Kniss, the Vietnamese American Bar Association of Northern California’s 2009 Trail Blazer Award, and the 2012 SF Business Times / Silicon Valley Business Journal Corporate Counsel’s Community Champion Award.
Santa Clara University Diversity Gala
Organization of the Year Award - 2012
Google, Inc and Google’s Legal Department are honored to accept the Organization of the Year Award in conjunction with Santa Clara Law’s 9th Annual Diversity Gala.
At Google, we work hard to ensure that attention to diversity is built into everything we do—from hiring our employees and creating our company culture, to running our business and developing our products, tools, and services.
Through global talent development programs, we are working to increase diversity in the technology industry and develop the next generation of professionals. Growing the worldwide pool of leaders is vital for Google and for our industry. Having Googlers with a diversity of perspectives, ideas, and cultures leads to the creation of better products and services.
Many companies are facing a common challenge: fewer and fewer university students are graduating each year, and enrollment rates are even lower for women and underrepresented groups such as African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, and people with disabilities. What this means for Google and its industry peers is that the available talent pool is less reflective of the global population.
We are working hard to reverse this trend. Through education outreach programs, conferences, targeted recruitment initiatives, global talent development programs, and nonprofit organization partnerships, we are trying to attract, recruit, and retain the world’s top talent, and create a workforce that reflects our globally diverse user audience.
We are proud of the work we have done so far, but also recognize that there is much more to do. We hope that through our continued efforts we can help build an industry that is more reflective of the global population and more receptive to its needs, and in doing so, raise worldwide awareness about issues of diversity and inclusion.