Law Graduation Recognizes Hard Work, Desire to Be Good, Better

Law Graduation Recognizes Hard Work, Desire to Be Good, Better

San Diego (May 18, 2019) –The 62nd University of San Diego School of Law Commencement took place today at the Jenny Craig Pavilion as its Class of 2019 consisted of 242 degree recipients, including 184 who received a Juris Doctor.

2019 School of Law Graduation

The two-hour ceremony, which kicked off the two-weekend graduation season for USD this month, featured remarks by USD President James T. Harris III, DEd, School of Law Dean and Professor Stephen C. Ferruolo, PhD, JD, Commencement speaker and law alumnus Shaka Johnson ’03 (JD) and the graduating student address by Ian Pike, who received his JD today.

Following Dean Ferruolo’s remarks, which praised many student organizations, actions and celebrated a wealth of achievements, Associate Dean and Professor of Law, Margaret A. Dalton ’94 presented Thorsnes Prizes to four USD law faculty members. The Thorsnes Prize for Outstanding Legal Scholarship winners are Warren Distinguished Professors of Law Lawrence Alexander, LLB, and Steve Smith, JD. The Thorsnes Prize for Excellence in Teaching went to Professor of Law Jordan Barry, JD, and Warren Distinguished Professor of Law Roy Brooks, JD.

Johnson, who is the vice president and associate general counsel speech centered on gratitude and a six-word phrase: “Be positive, be kind, be you.”

Another part of Dean Ferruolo’s talk was a breakdown of the Class of 2019 demographically. While 31 states and several countries comprise the graduating class of JD recipients, 60 percent are from California and some received their undergraduate degrees from local universities — 16 from San Diego State and 14 each from UC San Diego and USD. The 58 students who received a Master of Laws degree (49) or a Master of Science in Legal Studies (nine) are from 22 different countries and speak 17 different languages. The age range of School of Law graduates today was 22 to 55.

When the time came for students to walk across the JCP stage and shake President Harris’ hand, it culminated an individual’s three-year experience at USD. But Pike, whose wife Sara also graduated with a JD today, reminded his fellow Torero law graduates during his talk what he believes everyone in the Class of 2019 now has in common going forward.

“The most important thing I’ve learned in law school is the value of being a good colleague in a world where we sometimes seem to grow more estranged from each other,” he said. “I believe our time here has been valuable in that regard. This law school has not failed to foster our consciences, even as it has taught us to think, to write and to act like lawyers with everything that entails. It is now incumbent upon us to really live this sense of collegiality that I felt the first time I ever came here. ... Be excellent to each other. That matters because that’s what makes us special. That’s what will give us an edge in our careers and in our lives. We will wear our reputations proudly and we’ll be known not only for the quality of our advocacy, but also for the quality of our humanity. Together, we will embody the dignity of a noble profession by according our colleagues the respect we have earned by all that we have gone through together, here, over the course of these three, oh so very incredible, years. It is my honor to call you, fine people, my colleagues. Thank you for that.”

— Ryan T. Blystone

The School of Law Commencement ceremony, which was livestreamed on the USD website, can be re-viewed for up to one week for free by visiting this webpage.

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