Commencement Ceremony Honors King Hall Class of 2017
Sister Simone Campbell ’77 delivered the commencement address and Bill Foster ’17 received the Law School Medal for outstanding academic achievement at the UC Davis School of Law 2017 Commencement Ceremony held May 20 at the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts. The event included remarks from Dean Kevin R. Johnson, Professor Carlton Larson, and Rabia Reed ’17. A total of 151 JD and 75 LLM degrees were awarded.
Video of the event is available for viewing here, and photos of the event are available here.
Dean Johnson welcomed the graduates, friends, family, faculty, and alumni in attendance and praised the graduating class. He talked about their diversity, collegiality, and commitment to public service, noting that more than half the JD students completed the Law School's Public Service program, performing more than 15,000 total hours of service for those in need.
“We have a great law school because we have great students,” he said. “The class of 2017 is nothing less than remarkable.”
Student speaker Rabia Reed expressed thanks to her family and professors, and praised her classmates as being not only gifted and capable but also inclusive and kind. “I believe in you because I have seen what you are capable of,” said Reed. “You are smart and kind and decent, and if you stay true to those King Hall values, you will be amazing attorneys.”
Professor Larson talked about the vital role the families of the graduates had played in supporting them in their childhood and as students. He said that the ability to learn from the setbacks that are an inevitable part of every legal career is a key to success, citing examples from the careers of Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, former President Barack Obama, and former Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. However much people may enjoy joking about lawyers, “all the lawyer jokes disappear when you or your country need one,” he said.
Sister Simone Campbell, Executive Director of NETWORK, a Roman Catholic social justice lobby based in Washington, D.C., delivered an emotional address invoking the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in calling on the graduates to fight for social justice in challenging times.
“If you choose justice,” Campbell said, “then we might be able to say together what Dr. King said at the end of his speech at Riverside: ‘And if we will only make the right choice, we will be able to transform this pending cosmic elegy into a creative psalm of peace. If we will make the right choice we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our world into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. If we will but make the right choice, we will be able to speed up the day all over America and all over our world when justice will roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.’”