Campus & Community

Sturm College of Law welcomes 300 new alumni

In a ceremony marked by plain-spoken advice, solemn tradition and even some lighter moments, DU’s Sturm College of Law graduated 300 new alumni May 17 before an Ritchie Center arena packed with family and friends.

Watch the video.

In congratulating the new graduates, Dean José Juárez recognized not only their accomplishments and hard work, but also the support network of family who had sacrificed so much and were there to cheer the students on.

“For over a century, the college of law has educated lawyers who have gone on to rewarding careers. We are proud of you and of the contributions you will make to the legal profession,” he said.

Then, in a nod to the families, he added, “I now invite all of the graduates to rise and join me in applauding your families and friends who have given you their support during your time in law school.”

Karen Mathis, who graduated from DU in 1972, cum laude, with bachelor’s degrees in political science, history and education and is past president of the American Bar Association, took the opportunity as keynote speaker to encourage the graduates to do good in the world, even when it might be difficult, costly or inconvenient.

“Every day, for the rest of your career, you will be recognized for your skills and for your honesty and integrity,” she said. “It is more important than ever that we make good and ethical decisions … Act with honor in all that you do.”

Student speaker Aaryn Richardson, who is preparing for a career as a military lawyer in the Air Force’s Judge Advocate General Corps, provided the levity, comparing law school to high school and reality shows, and even adding impressions of President Bush and professors Scott Johns and Lucy Marsh.

“I’m truly glad to have shared these tumultuous years with each of you,” he said.

And then, with the dignity and tradition that dates back more than 100 years, graduates lined up to greet Chancellor Robert Coombe and accept their diplomas.

Leading the presentations of the graduates’ alumni pins, Howard Kenison (JD ’72), chair of the alumni council, reflected on the gravity of the moment and its enduring role in each graduate’s life.

“With this DU alumni pin, you are now recognized as part of the DU alumni community,” he said. “You cannot buy this pin. You cannot order it by mail. In fact, you can’t get this pin from Craig’s List. You must get your first pin in person, from another DU graduate. I encourage you to wear your pin proudly.”

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