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News Posted on May 20, 2014

Commencement Ceremony Honors Class of 2014

Commencement 2014

California Assembly Speaker Emeritus John A. Pérez delivered the commencement address and Martin Freeman '14 was awarded the Law School Medal for outstanding academic achievement at the UC Davis School of Law 2014 Commencement Ceremony held on May 16 at the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts.

2014 Commencement Photo Gallery

2014 Commencement Video

A total of 171 JD and 53 LLM students participated in the event, which nearly filled to capacity the 1,800-seat Mondavi Center. The ceremony also included remarks from Dean Kevin R. Johnson, Professor David Horton, UC Davis Provost Ralph J. Hexter, and Irene Williams '14.

Dean Johnson served as master of ceremonies and delivered welcoming remarks. He praised the Class of 2014 and reminded the students of the great responsibilities they will take on as attorneys. "When people are in trouble, whether it's a business owner, a home owner, a worker, an immigrant, a homeless person, or a veteran, they look to lawyers for help," he said. "When they want justice, they look to lawyers, and the Class of 2014 will no doubt be there to help with finely honed legal skills, a firm moral compass, and respect for their clients."

Dean Johnson introduced Irene Williams '14, who as a student served as vice chair of the Black Law Students Association, helped to organize the first King Hall Black Alumni Reunion, and earned the King Hall Alumni Association Award (along with co-recipient Elise Weinberg '14) for her dedication to the King Hall community. Williams spoke of her pride in being a graduate of "the best law school in California" and encouraged her classmates not to change as they enter the legal profession. "Stand firm, and don't back down," said Williams. "What the legal profession needs, what this world needs are individuals who are not afraid to be individuals, individuals bold enough to think for themselves."

Professor Horton talked about the challenges the Class of 2014 will face as new attorneys, as well as his faith that the class was up to the challenge. "I am so impressed by your intelligence, by your kindness and compassion, and by your ability to stare down adversity," said Horton. "The very perseverance that brought you to this auditorium today also holds the seeds of your future success."

Provost Hexter also praised the Class of 2014 for its achievements. "You are worthy of every ounce of pride that your loved ones feel on this great occasion, as well as the admiration of your dean, your professors, and your fellow students," he said.

Assemblyman Pérez spoke of his experiences as the first openly gay Assembly Speaker in any state, and encouraged the Class of 2014 to "devote your career to the cause of justice."

"Each of you has the potential and the ability to make a lasting impact," he said. "Each of you can write the laws that define justice for the 21st century. Each of you can be an agent of justice for people who don't believe justice will be theirs. Each of you can transform people's lives by standing up for their dignity and worth."