Class of 2011 Celebrates Graduation
Members of Dayton Law's Class of 2011 celebrated the culmination of their legal education with a commencement ceremony on May 7 at the UD Arena. The class comprises 181 students, including 170 who received a J.D., and 11 who received a Master of Laws, or LL.M.
In her commencement address, Justice Evelyn Lundberg Stratton of the Ohio Supreme Court told the graduates that they have been given a "ticket to unprecedented opportunity," and they should use that opportunity to "make a difference for yourself, your family and your community."
Stratton provided several pieces of advice for the graduates to remember as they begin their legal careers. First, she told them to "blaze your own dream" and "don't let anything stand in your way."
Secondly, she encouraged them to give back to their communities by participating in pro bono work. "It's volunteer work, so have to want to do it," she said.
Next she encouraged graduates to "live in the moment," and "be the best you can be." "Don't wait for the future do accomplish a goal," she said.
Finally, Stratton told the graduates to "keep your family first." "Your family should be at the core of everything you do," she said.
Dean Lisa Kloppenberg praised the students for their hard work, dedication and classroom discipline. "One of the hallmarks of the members of the Class of 2011 has been their strong sense of commitment to community," she said.
The Class of 2011 includes approximately 60 students who received the School's Pro Bono Commitment to Community Award for contributing at least 50 hours of community service during their time in law school. The class includes the largest number of Pro Bono Commitment to Community recipients, who donated almost 12,000 hours of community service, shattering previous hours contributed by other classes.
"I am deeply touched by the efforts of the Class of 2011 over the past three years to make a difference, not only in the Dayton Law Community, but more broadly," Kloppenberg told the graduates. "You have worked hard, studied hard and given so much to others. Whether it was serving lunch to a homeless individual, helping to prepare a will for a police officer or firefighter, or assisting an attorney in a pro bono case, you have exemplified the Marianist spirit of community."
Kloppenberg also noted that the members of the class were just as dedicated to helping members of the Dayton Law community. "No classmate, faculty or staff member faced adversity alone," she said. "Whether what was needed was a prayer, a card, a kind word, a few dollars or a home-cooked meal, the Class of 2011 stood ready to help."
University of Dayton President Daniel J. Curran told the graduates that they face changing both around the world and in the legal profession. Graduates, he said, need to heed the words of Blessed William Joseph Chaminade, a founder of the Society of Mary, the Marianists, and "read the signs of the times."
"The challenge that faces you the graduates in the future is how to continue community building in the new environment in which you will live and work," he said.
The School of Law also honored several students during the ceremony.
Michelle O'Donnell received the Brother Raymond Fitz Student Leader for Justice Award, which is given annually to a law student who has followed in the footsteps of UD's former president by actively seeking ways to better the world. O'Donnell was class president, represented the student body on Dean Search Committee, chaired Dayton Law's Diversity Fest, one of the School's biggest events of the year, and, last year, organized fundraising efforts for typhoon victims in the Philippines.
Adam Petty received the first Lisa A. Kloppenberg Outstanding Student Leadership Award, a new award established by the Student Bar Association to recognize a graduating law student who exhibits leadership traits similar to those exemplified by Kloppenberg. Petty was the executive president of the Student Bar Association, a member of the Black Law Students Association, Criminal Law Association, St. Thomas More Society and Volunteer Student Law Project, and served as a legal redress intern with the Dayton chapter of the NAACP. After graduation, he will join the U.S. Army JAG Corp.
The graduates also were welcomed to the Dayton Law Alumni Association by Honorable Mary Kate Huffman'91, the president of the association and a member of the Court of Common Pleas in Montgomery County, Ohio.
All University of Dayton graduates received a commemorative Chaminade medal with their diplomas as a symbol of their University of Dayton education. This year, the University of Dayton is commemorating the 250th anniversary of the birth of the Blessed William Joseph Chaminade, founder of the Marianist order that founded the University of Dayton.