On Saturday, May 19, 155 law school students celebrated commencement at the Chapel of the Resurrection on the Valparaiso University campus. One student earned a degree of Master of Laws. The remaining students received the degree of Juris Doctor, with 32 students being honored with the distinction of cum laude, magna cum laude or summa cum laude and representing the top students in the class.
Justice Randall T. Shepard received an honorary degree at the ceremony. Justice Shepard is the former Chief Justice of the Indiana Supreme Court. He retired earlier this year after serving on the court for 27 years. At the time of his appointment, he was the youngest Chief Justice in the country. Shepard earned his degrees from Princeton University, Yale Law School and University of Virginia Law School. He has received several awards, including the Norma Wickler Excellence in Service Award from the National Association of Women Judges, Lifetime Achievement Award from the Indiana Black Expo and the Dwight D. Opperman Award for Judicial Excellence. Shepard authored more than 940 majority opinions and published more than 65 law review articles while also being active in several community groups.
Professor Rosalie Berger Levinson received the Jack A. Hiller Distinguished Faculty Award, recognizing her commitment to scholarship, teaching and service. Levinson focuses on Constitutional Law and Civil Rights. She also coordinates the Honors Program and Federal Judicial Extern Program at Valparaiso University Law School.
Roberta Lang ’90 served as the commencement speaker for this year’s ceremony. Lang is the General Counsel and Global Vice President of Legal Affairs for Whole Foods Market, Inc. She also participates on the boards of Conscious Capitalism, Inc., Whole Planet Foundation, and the National Council of the Valparaiso University Law School. She reminded students that even though they are entering a difficult job market, they now possess the tools to be leaders in any and every sphere. She emphasized the importance of following one’s heart, voicing their creativity, and impacting others through their actions. She spoke of her own inspirations in life and how they helped to drive her dreams and achievements.
Matthew Suter, president of the Student Bar Association, offered his own congratulations to his fellow graduates. He cited that the graduates already possess a strong amount of integrity and ambition in order to make it to such an important milestone. In an effort to “not reinvent the wheel,” Suter offered up inspirational messages from well-known movies and wished everyone well in their future endeavors.
Professor David Herzig, class advisor for the graduates, offered his own sentiments about what success means. He pointed out that few people remember the names of those who win famous awards, although these individuals are undoubtedly the best in their field. Conversely, everyone is able to name those that inspire them on a personal level or make a difference in their lives.
A reception followed the presentation of diplomas for the graduates and families in the Harre Union Ballroom.
Click on the following link for pictures of the commencement ceremony: http://www.flickr.com/photos/valparaiso_university/sets/72157629804933648/
Click on the following link to view a time-lapse video of commencement: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=etheWz9UMuU