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May 19, 2014

Hundreds of family and friends filled St. Ignatius Church Saturday to celebrate the graduation of the USF School of Law Class of 2014.

Graduates 2014 Full
Graduates of the USF School of Law LLM program.

The class includes 176 JD students, five JD/MBA students, and 10 LLM students. 

The commencement speaker and honorary degree recipient was John Roos, who served as U.S. Ambassador to Japan during the devastating 2011 earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear crisis. He stressed the importance of lawyers serving the community. 

“For those of you who are starting careers in the district attorney’s office, the public defenders office, or other public service, let me just take a moment to thank you for what you do and tell you that I think there is no higher calling,” Roos said. 

During the ceremony, Holly Pearson ’14 received the Pursuit of Justice Award. Ashley Ratliff ’14 offered remarks on behalf of the graduates and also received the Academic Excellence Award. 

“We are going to get knocked down. We are going to struggle. We are never going to reach a point in life where we’re too good to fail,” Ratliff said. “But I say who cares, that’s only looking at one side of the coin. We are prepared more than we give ourselves credit and I really, truly believe in the potential we all have for amazing accomplishments.” 

In his first commencement ceremony as dean, Dean John Trasviña reminded graduates that USF and its vast alumni network stand by them as they begin their careers. 

“You have a veritable army of USF alums from coast to coast to coast ready to embrace you and uplift you as our faculty and staff have done for you and you have done for each other,” Trasviña said. “I have stated before that your careers as lawyers and leaders will carry you well into the second half of this century. But what must remain resolute throughout that time are the qualities of courage and compassion, intellect and integrity, judgment and justice, and dedication and decency. Leave room in your heads for more knowledge. Leave room in your hearts for love. You are ready for great things and we are proud of you.” 

The ceremony was also the last graduation presided over by USF President Stephen A. Privett, S.J., who is stepping down this summer after 14 years leading the university. 

“This is Father Privett’s final graduation ceremony but your mark on our lives and careers is long-lasting,” Dean Trasviña said. “We wish you well in the coming days and years ahead.”