The conferring of degrees for more than 160 graduates took place Saturday, May 25, as Valparaiso University Law School celebrated commencement at the Chapel of the Resurrection on the Valparaiso University campus.
Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer received the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws. Judge Pallmeyer graduated from Valparaiso University in 1976 before earning her law degree from the University of Chicago Law School. She practiced commercial litigation in Chicago at Hopkins and Sutter. In 1997, she was nominated to the U.S. District Court in Chicago by President Clinton. The Senate confirmed her appointment in October of 1998. She has traveled abroad to discuss judicial reform and even presided over the trial of former Illinois Governor George Ryan. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Lawyers Club of Chicago, the Chicago Bar Association, the Chicago Chapter of the Federal Bar Association, the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois and the American Bar Association. She has been a Valparaiso University Alumni Association Board of Directors member and currently serves on the Christ College National Council.
Professor Bernard Trujillo received the Jack A. Hiller Distinguished Faculty Award, recognizing his commitment to scholarship, teaching and service. Trujillo is known for publishing and lecturing in the fields of bankruptcy, corporate finance and immigration law.
Allen G. Fore served as this year’s commencement speaker. Fore graduated from Valparaiso University Law School in 1991 and is now the director of public affairs for Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, L.P. He previously served as senior vice president at Fleishman-Hillard, an assistant attorney general of Illinois, general counsel to the lieutenant governor of Illinois, executive director of the Illinois Republican Party and judge advocate general in the Illinois Army National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve. He spoke of his own experiences as a student at Valparaiso University Law School, even acknowledging several of the faculty members who taught him. He encouraged students to get involved in politics or civic organizations. He spoke of the various types of adversity lawyer’s face and how each graduate has the tools to be successful, noting that they shouldn’t be afraid of failures as well.
Darnell DeCausey, president of the Student Bar Association, offered his own congratulations to his fellow graduates. He thanked the family and friends in attendance for all of their support. He pointed out that while these individuals are often pillars of support for law students, many students come to rely heavily upon their “Valpo families” as well. He also held a moment of silence in remembrance of Professor Paul Brietzke, who passed away earlier this year.
Professor Clare Nuechterlein, class advisor for the graduates, offered her own sentiments about the meaning of graduation and the road ahead for the graduates. She reminisced about the last three years and said “The days are long, but the years are short.” In addition, she offered quotes by Chief Justice John Roberts and her personal hero, William Shakespeare.
For more information about the Law School Commencement: