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Class of 2013 Celebrates Graduation

May 19, 2013

The USF School of Law Class of 2013 graduated on May 18 in front of hundreds of family and friends in St. Ignatius Church. More than 190 students received Juris Doctor degrees, 11 received JD/MBAs, 14 received Master of Law degrees in International Transactions and Comparative Law, and one received a Master of Law degree in Intellectual Property and Technology Law.

Dean Jeffrey Brand told the graduates that they are the inspiration for all that he and the faculty do. “I know these are difficult times. My confidence in who you are and your future is not mine alone.” He harkened back to what Robert F. Kennedy said at the dedication of Kendrick Hall in 1961, and said it is still true that “people need the kind of lawyers we graduate, the lawyers you will become.”

The law school presented an honorary degree to the Honorable Saundra Brown Armstrong ’77, senior district judge in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Armstrong is a life-long public servant, having served federal, state, and local governments as a police officer, a distinguished prosecutor, and a judge in the state and federal courts. 

The judge bestowed on the Class of 2013 a series of wishes, among them travel, love of work, the strength to pass up more lucrative work if it doesn’t nourish their soul, time to themselves, the company of eccentrics, the ability to turn a deaf ear to hollow criticism, and tempered passions. 

“Each of these wishes simply asks that you strive to be the best person you can be,” Armstrong said. “I use the word ‘person’ and not ‘lawyer’ deliberately. Being a good lawyer, you will find, is more about being a good person than anything you have learned from a casebook. To concentrate on skills alone and to ignore the person is to do yourselves and the legal profession an injustice.… It is the person in each of you, not the lawyer, that gives voice to the voiceless and turns cold facts into warm flesh and blood.

“Countless times in your career you will find yourselves at a crossroads. You will be called upon to choose what might be good for you as a lawyer and what you as a person know is the right thing to do,” Armstrong continued. “I urge you, always do what you know is right. If your careers, indeed your entire professional lives, will have any meaning, you must place your personal integrity above all else.”

Benjamin Stewart was presented the Academic Excellence Award and Daniela Conde earned the Pursuit of Justice Award. Graduating student V. Thayer Mullins delivered remarks on behalf of the Class of 2013.

Mullins spoke of the strong community of students helping each other succeed. “We realized we were not on an island,” he said. “The quality of that support was integral. But it was the quality of the people giving that support that I will never forget.”

Enjoy these photos from graduation.