Recognizing distinguished alumni from Oceanside High School
OHS graduate Suzanne Knauf was destined for a legal career as her father, grandfather and great grandfather were attorneys and judges. Born and raised on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Suzanne arrived at Oceanside High School to start her sophomore year. As a Pirate, Suzanne participated in AFS, CFS, Senior Council and was a National Merit Scholar. With inspiration from her OHS teachers and counselors, in 1969, Suzanne graduated from UC Santa Barbara with a political science degree. In 1972, she earned her J.D. at California Western School of Law and embarked on a distinguished career, including a number of “firsts” for a woman in a then male-dominated profession. As the first practicing female attorney in North County, Suzanne began her career in private practice as a trial attorney. With encouragement from the legal community, in 1978, she not only became the first woman appointed to the bench in North San Diego County, but also the youngest judge appointed in the State of California. With 31 years on the bench, the last 10 years serving on Special Assignment by appointment of the state’s Chief Justice, Suzanne retired as a Superior Court Judge in 2009. Her outstanding career also included educating fellow jurists at the California Judicial College and Continuing Judicial Studies Program and serving on the California Courts Budget Commission and the Presidential Commission on Domestic Violence. Her ingrained belief in the value of community service, and understanding that those to whom much is given, much is expected, led to years of involvement in community organizations. Suzanne served on many Boards of Directors, including Vista Boys and Girls Club, North County Bar Association, Tri City Christian School, North County Concert Association and Vista Rotary. Suzanne continues her volunteer work with Harvest Alliance International and Children of the Amazon leading Christian missionary groups into the cities and jungles of Peru, focusing on leadership training, missionary care, children’s ministry and medical clinics.
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