Su J. Chon, the first minority to earn a spot on Utah's judicial bench under Gov. Gary Herbert, was sworn in Tuesday.
The oath of office was administered by Justice Ronald Nehring in the Utah Supreme Court at the Scott M. Matheson Courthouse, which was full of supporters and spectators.
Chon thanked her family and her Korean immigrant parents, who reared seven daughters.
"We are here because of others who have helped us along the way," Chon said.
Former Bar president Nathan Alder said Chon brings "a life of preparation for this service."
"Knowing this is a hard job, please do one thing: endure. Endure all that is coming your way," Alder said. "It is through your endurance that you have shined."
Earlier this year Chon, who most recently worked for the Office of the Utah Property Rights Ombudsman, became the first judicial nominee in memory to fail to receive a favorable appointment from a Senate confirmation committee.
The full Senate, however, ultimately voted 17 to 10 to confirm Chon to the 3rd District bench.
The confirmation committee expressed concern about Chon's lack of any trial experience. Supporters, meanwhile, praised Chon, an attorney of 18 years and the Utah State Bar's 2005 pro bono attorney of the year, as a hard worker and a good legal mind.
"I want you to know you've caused as much of a fear amongst this body as we've had in a while," said Sen Majority Leader Scott Jenkins, R-Plain City, before voting against recommending Chon for confirmation in August.
Republican senators split 10-10 in the final vote.
Sen. Steve Urquhart, R-St. George, lauded Chon prior to confirmation, calling her a "wonderful person and a wonderful lawyer."