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252 Receive Degrees During Class of 2011 Commencement

May 23, 2011

Hundreds of family and friends filled St. Ignatius Church May 21 for the graduation of the USF School of Law Class of 2011. 

(Left to Right): Graduates Abby O'Flaherty, Christy Siojo, Molly Wilson, and Donovan Hunter

The class includes 221 graduates who received Juris Doctor degrees, eight who received joint Juris Doctor and Master of Business Administration degrees, and 23 who received Master of Laws degrees.

In his address to the graduates, Dean Jeffrey Brand said the actions of the Class of 2011 during law school speak volumes about how they will weather these difficult times.

"When I hear critics of the legal profession today, here’s what I see: I see you—our graduates—and all that you’ve done. I see your faces, I see your dedication, and, I see your intelligence," Brand said. "And, from those images, I draw inspiration that our task is not futile, tough times will inevitably pass, and, as they do, a new generation of lawyers will be there to take up the charge."

The commencement speaker and honorary degree recipient was Justice Ming Chin ’64 of the California Supreme Court, whose judicial extern Daniel Ruby is a member of the Class of 2011. Chin used a portion of his speech to address national security issues, telling the graduates that they are now the guardians of the rule of law and the cause of justice.

"After all, 9/11 gave us many heroes—the firefighters, police officers, emergency workers, passengers of United Flight 93, our armed forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, and most recently Navy SEALs Team 6," he said. "Let us honor all of them with our steadfast commitment to our families, to each other and to the promise of the Declaration of Independence. President Eisenhower once said, ‘History entrusts the care of freedom to people of strength and vision.’ As we celebrate and honor the Class of 2011 let us face the challenges of the war against terrorism with the same courage, conviction, and resolve that the greatest generation faced the challenge of Nazi Germany. I wish the Class of 2011 good luck and Godspeed in this great adventure you are about to begin."

During the ceremony, Carl N. Hammarskjold received the Academic Excellence Award and Jophiel Philips received the Pursuit of Justice Award. Philips also served as the student speaker during the graduation.

"Class of 2011, we’ve experienced many moments together, like the historic election of President Obama, the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ all of this not to be outdone by the San Francisco Giants who brought the title back to the Bay," he said. "But through it all we cannot forget the work we did, the focus we had, and the perseverance we’ve shown to make today possible. For these reasons, today feels so great, because we’ve earned it, but we definitely had some help," he said, going on to recognize the faculty and staff of the law school and family and friends of the graduates.

"Today, we are a step closer to having the audacity to change the world for the better. We all share this earth for a brief moment in time," Philips said. "Some days we are reminded of our ability to leave this world in better shape than we inherited it. Today is one of those days."