Portrait of U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Judge Mary H. Murguia.

Federal appellate judge, 2 Arizona groups honored with Pastor awards for leadership, public service

By

Mark J. Scarp

ASU’s Congressman Ed Pastor Center for Politics and Public Service bestowed its highest honor on the chief judge of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals recently at a ceremony that also marked the debut of a new award honoring public service organizations.

Mary H. Murguia, a member of the 9th Circuit Court since 2010 who has served as its chief judge since 2021, received the Congressman Ed Pastor Public Servant Leadership Award April 22 on the Downtown Phoenix campus.

The Pastor Center is based at Arizona State University’s Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions.

“Judge Murguia has spent her career mentoring and encouraging women and minorities to consider careers in law,” said Alberto Olivas, Pastor Center executive director. “She has worked to ensure that our justice system is equitable in its treatment of all members of society.”

The Public Servant Leadership Award is given to a public policy leader that embodies Pastor’s leadership legacy: bridge-building, finding common ground, building trust, collaboration and consensus, and a selfless dedication to public good.

Murguia is the second-ever recipient of the award, which was first presented posthumously in 2021 to Ronnie Lopez, a friend of the late U.S. Rep. Ed Pastor, the center’s benefactor and namesake. Lopez was a longtime Arizona activist and mentor who died in August 2020.

“I am grateful and humbled to have received the Congressman Ed Pastor Public Servant Leadership Award,” Murguia said in a statement. “Public service has been so rewarding for me; I encourage others to engage in public service as well and hope they will find it as fulfilling as I have.”

Two public service organizations were presented with the new Public Service Organization Award, which recognizes organizations that embody Pastor’s dedication to public service and creating opportunities for those who are underserved and underrepresented in society:

  • Aliento, an Arizona-based organization that assists families of persons who are undocumented, those served by the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and families with different citizenship or immigration statuses.
  • Arizona Undocumented Workers Relief Fund, which raises funds for members of undocumented working families.

Jose Patino, Aliento’s vice president for education and external affairs, said the Aliento team is honored to be recognized by the Pastor Center.

“Congressman Pastor was a trailblazer for Latinos, young people and immigrants. Congressman Pastor always championed the rights of people over political gain,” Patino said. “At Aliento, we want to continue to honor his legacy of centering community, service and collaboration despite our differences across all political ideologies."

Spirit of Service Scholarship recipients honored

The event also honored seven ASU students as part of the 2022 Pastor Center’s Spirit of Service Scholarships:

  • Lydia Chew, a student pursuing a Master of Public Policy degree with a certificate in public administration from the School of Public Affairs, is the Debra Friedman Scholar. Friedman, who passed away in 2013, was a former dean of the Watts College and founder of the Spirit of Service Scholars program. The scholarship recognizes an outstanding student in a public policy or public administration program who goes above and beyond expectations to engage others in advocacy and public service. 
  • Emily Wall, a senior on the ASU School of Social Work’s Tucson campus, is the Gabe Zimmerman Scholar. Zimmerman, who received a Master of Social Work degree from the School of Social Work in 2006, was one of six people killed in the Tucson shootings on Jan. 8, 2011, that also wounded former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 12 others. The scholarship recognizes social work students and alumni who, like Zimmerman, are known for their dedication to public service, their belief in democracy and their uncompromising respect for others. 
  • Brianna Stinsman, a senior in global studies, public service and public policy in the School of Public Affairs with a certificate in cross-sector leadership, is the SRP Scholar. The scholarship recognizes a student dedicated to promoting best practices in public administration and cross-sector collaboration in the interest of serving the public. 
  • Amy Ramirez, a junior in public service and public policy, and Claudia Sanson, who is pursuing a Master of Public Policy degree, both from School of Public Affairs, are the Ronnie Lopez Scholars. The scholarship is named for the late Ronnie Lopez, activist, mentor and friend of Pastor. It recognizes students who endeavor to advance civil rights, political representation and other issues of importance to the Latino community. 
  • Stephanie Gerhart, a senior in public service and public policy as well as in management, who is also enrolled in Barrett, The Honors College at ASU, is the Greater Phoenix Leadership Scholar. The scholarship recognizes a student for efforts to promote civic engagement and leadership within the next generation of Arizona students.
  • Ariana Afshari, a senior in neurobiology with a minor in civic and economic thought and leadership, is the Justin Capers Scholar. The scholarship is named for the late Justin Capers, a physician’s assistant, volunteer in medicine and community college instructor who inspired others to pursue medical careers and believed everyone should pursue public service. The scholarship recognizes a student in the health care or medical research fields who is dedicated to public service and providing paths for leadership to others.