On Friday, May 20th, Pepperdine School of Law held its commencement ceremony for the Class of 2016 in beautiful Alumni Park. The main address featured Linda Klein, President-Elect of American Bar Association. Over two hundred graduates received degrees from Pepperdine Law this year, including 184 juris doctor, 27 Master of Dispute Resolution, and 53 Master of Laws (LLM) students.
During the ceremony, Ryan Nathan Gardner (JD ’16) led attendees in the Pledge of Allegiance, after which Paul C. Kim (JD ’16) delivered a riveting acappella rendition of the National Anthem. The student speaker — selected by a panel of faculty, staff, and students — was Chris L. Casillas (JD ’16), who spoke about his appreciation of the people who had defined his law school experience, especially the faculty and their open doors to their students.
Dean Deanell Reece Tacha, Duane and Kelly Roberts Dean and Professor of Law, presented the Distinguished Alumnus Award to the Honorable Jennifer A. Dorsey (U.S. District Court Judge, U.S. District Court of Nevada, and JD ’97). Dorsey is a member of the Foundation Advisory Board at her undergraduate college (UNLV) and serves with distinction as a member of the Board of Visitors at Pepperdine Law.
Klein received an Honorary Degree (Honoris Causa) before delivering the Commencement Address. In addition to serving as the upcoming president of the American Bar Association, Klein is Senior Managing Shareholder at Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz. She is listed in The Best Lawyers in America, Who’s Who in America, and Chambers USA while also being regularly named to Super Lawyers’ list of the top 100 lawyers and top 50 female lawyers in Georgia. Klein opened by saying, “You have built something here,” describing how the tools and infrastructure gained from a Pepperdine Law education could build a career, much how her family of builders built strong homes on top of solid foundations. She also pointed out several Pepperdine clinics had already used work ethic and unique opportunities to make a difference: the Global Justice trip to India, the Justice Bus to benefit veterans, and the Los Angeles Incubator Consortium that allows new lawyers to serve modest-means clients. Reflecting all that had followed her own graduation, Klein assured the graduates, “You will love this.” She then concluded with some sober advice: “One day you will be asked to do something that isn’t right. Choose to follow your instincts and training …. That’s always been a tradition here [at Pepperdine Law]. Treasure that.”
Dean Tacha followed the Commencement Address with the presentation of candidates for graduate degrees, which were conferred by University Provost Rick R. Marrs. The ceremony concluded by a benediction delivered by Michael A. Helfand (Associate Professor of Law and Associate Director, Diane and Guilford Glazer Institute for Jewish Studies).
Photos available on Flickr here or preview images below.
–by Alexa Brown, Pepperdine Law