Photo of Judge Christine Schaller '93
April 15, 2019

LACEY, Wash. – Christine Schaller ’93, presiding judge for Thurston County Superior Court, will deliver the 2019 Commencement address at Saint Martin’s University on Saturday, May 11, at Marcus Pavilion, located at 5300 Pacific Ave SE, on the University’s Lacey campus.

“Our focus this year on service led us naturally to Christine Schaller to speak and deliver a charge to our graduates,” said Saint Martin’s University President Roy F. Heynderickx, Ph.D. “Her experience in public service and the leadership she has given to many organizations are accomplishments and experience that I know will resonate with our graduates. We all look forward to hearing from her.”

“I am honored and excited to speak to the graduates of Saint Martin’s University,” said Schaller. “We are linked by our common experience of an amazing, life-changing education at Saint Martin’s.”

Schaller serves as the presiding judge for Thurston County Superior Court, and her current rotation is as a criminal judge hearing pretrial matters and presiding over Drug Court. She was elected to the Thurston County Superior Court in 2012 and began her service in January 2013. From July 2015 through July 2017, she served as the chief judge at Family and Juvenile Court (FJC), where she heard family law matters, juvenile offender cases and dependency cases.

Prior to her election, Schaller served for almost eight years as a Family and Juvenile Court commissioner for Thurston County Superior Court. In 2009, Schaller was named “Jurist of the Year” by the Washington State Bar Association, Family Law Section. At the start of her legal career in 1996, she was an associate attorney at the Olympia law firm of Foster, Foster and Schaller, where she focused on family and juvenile law, criminal defense, estate planning and probate. She was a partner at the firm from June 2000 until she was appointed as court commissioner for FJC in February 2005. 

Schaller is also active in the community.  She has served in leadership roles with the Thurston County Bar Association, Washington Women Lawyers Capitol Chapter and Thurston County Volunteer Legal Services. In the greater Thurston County community, she has served on community boards including the Child Care Action Council, Saint Martin’s Alumni Association and United Community Aids Network.  She is also active with the Thurston County Relay for Life as both a participant and a previous team captain. She especially enjoys opportunities to work with youth by volunteering as a judge for the YMCA annual Mock Trial Competition and speaking to students on Law Day or with Street Law classes.

Schaller is the daughter of two Saint Martin’s alumni, Ed Schaller Jr. HS’62, ’66, who died in 2001, and Rose Schaller ’74. During her time at the University, she was involved in student government and was captain of the cheerleading squad. She also participated in the Model Arab League, a competition that helps students learn about the politics and history of the Arab world, diplomacy and public speaking. She graduated magna cum laude from Saint Martin’s with a degree in political science. She earned her law degree at Gonzaga University School of Law, where she graduated cum laude in 1996. Schaller was recognized by Saint Martin’s with a Distinguished Alumni Award in 2018, for her professional achievement.

Saint Martin’s University is an independent, four-year, coeducational university located on a wooded campus of more than 300 acres in Lacey, Washington. Established in 1895 by the Catholic Order of Saint Benedict, the University is one of 13 Benedictine colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, and the only one west of the Rocky Mountains. Saint Martin’s University prepares students for successful lives through its 29 majors and 11 graduate programs spanning the liberal arts, business, education, nursing and engineering. Saint Martin’s welcomes more than 1,300 undergraduate students and 250 graduate students from many ethnic and religious backgrounds to its Lacey campus, and more students to its extended campus located at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

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