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News Posted on May 23, 2012

Commencement Honors the King Hall Class of 2012

Commenecment 2012
Clockwise from top left: faculty speaker Professor Floyd Feeney, Law School Medalist Brittany Cheney '12, Dean Kevin R. Johnson, Provost Ralph J. Hexter, a view of the ceremony inside the Mondavi Center, Keynote Speaker and California Supreme Court Justice Goodwin Liu, and student speaker John Waste '12.

California Supreme Court Justice Goodwin Liu delivered an inspiring commencement address and Brittany Cheney '12 was presented with the Law School Medal for academic achievement at the UC Davis School of Law 2012 Commencement Ceremony on May 17 at the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts.  The event featured remarks from Dean Kevin R. Johnson, UC Davis Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Ralph J. Hexter, Professor Floyd Feeney, and student speaker John Waste '12.  The Law School presented 200 Juris Doctor and 23 Master of Laws degrees.

Praising the Class of 2012 as a "truly extraordinary group," Dean Johnson opened the proceedings by welcoming the more than 1,400 friends and family of the graduates present for the ceremony.  "As family and friends of the Class of 2012, you should be very, very proud of your graduate," he said.  "Your graduate is special and will soon be a lawyer.  The strength of this nation is its dedication to equality and liberty built upon the rule of law."

Click here for video of the 2012 commencement ceremony. 

Student speaker John Waste delivered an often humorous address that concluded with his hope that his class would retain the close relationships they formed as law students.  "King Hall truly seems to function on the radical idea that, even for law students, it's always better to be kind," he said.  "I think this niceness, as plain as it may sound, is actually the uniquely distinguishing feature that defines us as the Class of 2012.  Getting to know all of you has been one of the best experiences of my life.  Let us continue to maintain these friendships we've made here as we spread out to new places and new careers." 

Professor Feeney spoke of the great responsibility shared by the Class of 2012 to uphold the nation's great legal traditions, citing the examples of two King Hall alumni.  "It was only a few moments ago that Tani Cantil-Sakauye, now the Chief Justice of California, and Darrell Steinberg, now the leader of the California Senate, sat where you sit today," he said.  "In the blink of an eye, it will be your words, your deeds, your thoughts that carry forward the best traditions of the law." 

Click here for photos from the 2012 commencement ceremony.

Brittany Cheney gave thanks to everyone who had supported her efforts as a student at King Hall and urged her classmates to try to make a difference in the lives of others.  "Don't forget where you came from, or who helped you get to where you are in life, and don't forget to acknowledge their contributions," she said.  "It will keep you humble and grateful for your life." 

Justice Liu quoted a passage from Martin Luther King, Jr.'s book Strength to Love, in which King discussed the biblical story of the Good Samaritan and implored readers to view the parable in the context of social justice.  "My message today is King's message: have courage, do your duty, and seek justice," he said. 

"Congratulations, King Hall Class of 2012," Justice Liu concluded.  "You are leaving a special place and inheriting a special legacy.  Each of you came here for a reason.  Remember it and you will find your way."