UMass Law holds 2019 Commencement Ceremony

Law school graduates ready to continue pursuing justice

Law students at commencement

UMass Law held its 2019 Commencement ceremony at 10 a.m. in the Main Auditorium on campus where 48 law degrees were conferred

“Remember that lady justice is usually represented wearing a blindfold and carrying scales. True justice is blind to differences of race, gender, and power. True justice works for what is right, as you know from your many hours of pro bono service in local communities, “said Chancellor Robert E. Johnson.

Justice Elspeth B. Cypher of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court was the 2019 Commencement speaker for UMass Law. “Be as courageous as you can. There will always be difficult times, some harder than others. Be courageous. We the people. We are the steam energizing the Rule of Law. Class of 2019, how are you going to be in the law? How are you going to breathe life in the Rule of Law?” said Justice Cypher, who received an honorary doctorate degree from UMass Law to honor her tireless work for justice in the Commonwealth.

Student Speaker Casey Shannon, of Taunton, Massachusetts, asked her peers to think back on their experience, “As we look forward to our bright futures as district attorneys, immigration lawyers, corporate lawyers, and more, it is imperative that we see where we are today compared to where we were on our first day of law school. As we look back on the past several years, it is important that we call out and recognize the efforts of the faculty and staff that surround us, as well as our loving family and friends who I know are smiling from all areas of this room.”

UMass Law honored many students with awards for their accomplishments during their legal education, including:

Academic Achievement Awards (Highest GPA as of fall semester 2018)

  • Full-time student: Kayla J. Venckauskas
  • Part-time student: Patrick J. McKeon

Clinical Legal Education Award (CLEA)

  • Andrea Rebeca Martin

Connecticut Attorneys Title Insurance Company (CATIC) Foundation, Inc. Award

  • Stephanie Rodriguez-Ruiz

Dean’s Service Award

  • Christopher J. Leazott

Pro Bono Award

  • Jalessa L. Almonacy (644 hours of pro bono work)

St. Thomas More Award

  • David M. Kaiser

Student Bar Association Hon. Francis L. Larkin Amicus Award

  • Dionte Germon Salvi

Thurgood Marshall Social Justice Award

  • Jesse G. Purvis

The university conferred nearly 2,000 undergraduate, graduate degree, and law degrees to the Class of 2019. Two undergraduate ceremonies took place on Friday, May 10 and a graduate ceremony on the afternoon of May 13.


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