FORT WORTH, TEXAS, Dec. 17, 2013— During a historic ceremony at the First United Methodist Church in Fort Worth on Dec. 13, 2013, 47 graduates of Texas A&M University School of Law became the first ever Aggie lawyers.
Texas A&M acquired the law school formerly operated by Texas Wesleyan University earlier this year, and the school has operated under the Texas A&M name since the start of the fall semester.
With the first “Howdy” at the Dec. 13 event, it was evident that the law school was now part of “Aggieland.” Aric Short, interim dean of the law school, acknowledged the first Texas A&M University School of Law graduates in his opening remarks — to a rousing response.
Dean Short then introduced Marty Holmes, vice president of The Texas A&M Association of Former Students. Noting that the law school graduates were joining the ranks of more than 600,000 members world-wide, Holmes welcomed the graduates as Aggies, inducting them into The Association of Former Students with a “Gig ’em.”
Regent Charles W. Schwartz, a partner and head of litigation at the Houston law firm of Skadden, Arpes, Slate Meagher & Flom, provided greetings from the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents and then authorized Dean Short to confer academic degrees to the law school graduates on behalf of the Board of Regents.
The presentation of awards highlighted both the exemplary programs of the law school and its outstanding students. Each semester, the student who has contributed the greatest number of hours of pro bono legal services is recognized during the graduation ceremonies. Rosalind Jeffers, associate dean for student affairs and director of the Equal Justice Program, presented the fall 2013 Equal Justice Award to Sarah Cary for her more than 1,600 hours of pro bono work.
The first Mark Faris’ 13 Scholarship Award was presented by Dean Jeffers to Marisa Ayon at the Dec. 13 ceremony. The scholarship recognizes a student who embodies the legacy that Mark left behind at the law school by persevering to finish the law school race regardless of the hurdles faced.
Three students earned certificates in addition to the J.D. degree. These distinctions indicate that a student has completed rigorous curricular requirements with outstanding grades and has attained significant expertise and experience in relevant areas of the law. Maxine Harrington, associate dean for academic affairs and professor of law, acknowledged Anthony Cuesta and Shellena Hussein for certificates in business law; and Sablewangel Taddesse for a certificate in family law.
The MacLean & Boulware Endowed Law Scholarship is given to a graduate selected by the faculty who has demonstrated high moral character during his or her law school enrollment and who exhibits the potential and desire to become a successful, ethically conscious attorney. The recipient of the MacLean & Boulware Scholarship for fall 2013 was Robyn Trosper-Murrell. Dean Harrington presented the award.
During the December graduation ceremony, the Daniel Denton Award is presented to the graduate with the highest score on the July state bar exam. Marta Miller ’06, director of the Academic Support program, presented Kyle Fonville ’13 with the Daniel Denton Award.
Student commencement speaker Kamyar Maserrat began his remarks by reflecting on his first day in Torts Class. While noting that even mention of the Socratic Method brought an irrational fear to a fledgling 1L, Maserrat came to realize that, “Professors use the Socratic Method because it is an effective way to think like lawyers.” He went on to thank everyone that had contributed to the support of each graduate and concluded with, “Congratulations on being the first graduating class from the Texas A&M School of Law.”
Dean Short then introduced the graduation keynote speaker, John Sharp, Chancellor of the Texas A&M University System. Noting that Chancellor Sharp oversees 11 universities, 7 state agencies and more than 130,000 students, Short said, “It was Chancellor Sharp’s leadership and vision that brought the law school into Texas A&M University. We are proud to be the newest member of the Aggie family.”
Chancellor Sharp opened his comments by emphasizing that, “This is one of the historic days in the history of Texas A&M University. For four decades, Aggies from all over the world have been dreaming of this day.” He then stressed justice, service and the other tenets of Aggie tradition. “You are leaving today with a very powerful tool — a law degree from Texas A&M University. Aggie attorneys will make the world a better and more just place,” Sharp concluded.
The conferring of degrees and hooding were the final events of the graduation ceremony. Dean Harrington presented each graduate with a purple academic hood, which is the color for law. Sarah Cary was the first graduate to be hooded from Texas A&M University School of Law.
Rosalind Jeffers, Texas A&M School of Law associate dean for student affairs, presents the Equal Justice Award to Sarah Cary
Marisa Ayon is awarded the inaugural Mark Faris '13 Scholarship Award by Dean Jeffers
Robyn Trosper-Murrell receives the MacLean & Boulware Endowed Law Scholarship Award from Maxine Harrington, Texas A&M School of Law associate dean for academic affairs
Marta Miller '06, director of the Academic Support program, presents the Daniel Denton Award to Kyle Fonville '13
Student commencement speaker Kamyar Maserrat was selected by his fellow graduates