Texas A&M University School of Law Graduates Spring Class

May 17, 2014

Texas A&M School of Law graduates Matthew Fronda and Stephen IngramThe Texas A&M University School of Law Hooding and Commencement ceremony held May 16, 2014, at the Fort Worth Convention Center marked the school’s first May graduation ceremony under Texas A&M with 176 students who earned their Doctor of Jurisprudence degree in spring or summer. Texas A&M acquired the law school formerly operated by Texas Wesleyan University at the beginning of the fall semester.

The Honorable Andrew H. Card, Jr. gives Keynote Address at Texas A&M Law School commencement and hooding ceremonyThe Honorable Andrew H. Card, Jr., former U.S. Secretary of Transportation under President George H.W. Bush and White House Chief of Staff for President George W. Bush, was the keynote speaker. Card was the White House staff member who whispered the news in the ear of President George W. Bush at a Florida public school the day of the Sept. 11 attacks. Through his quick actions and composure, he led a government-wide reorganization to best allocate resources to deal with the aftermath of 9/11 and the changing terrorist environment.

“That day changed my life,” Card said to the graduates. “This one, will change yours … this is a memorable day. You are graduating from a long tradition that gives you a professional opportunity to lead. People will look to you for counsel, judgment, wisdom and assistance.”

Card, a graduate of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, has also served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. With Texas A&M University, he has served as acting dean of the Bush School of Government and Public Service and is currently Executive Director in the Office of the Provost.

“The words you use now carry more than they used to. Serve nobly as lawyers, serve others and invite them to participate in their own government, too,” Card said.

Texas A&M University System Board of Regents remarks were delivered by Regent Anthony G. Buzbee, who recently created the first faculty endowed chair at the law school through his $1 million gift. He told the class to consider the mission and not the odds. “Think instead about what you want to achieve. You will represent the school, the A&M System and the Texas State Bar well,” he said.

Texas A&M Law School Class of 2014 graduationJames A. Creel, a local attorney and Texas A&M graduate, class of 1969, inducted the graduates into the Aggie Network of more than 650,000 members worldwide on behalf of the Association of Former Students.

Elected student commencement speaker Andrew Decker offered a humorous speech highlighting “14 Lessons Learned By The Class of 2014,” including praise for the deans, advice to do a job that makes you happy and to realize that life is precious.

Interim Dean Aric Short addressed the graduates in his concluding remarks, “Law school is not only grueling, challenging and hard, but it’s also a lot of fun,” he said, also encouraging graduates to do well on the bar exam. “Your character is everything. It’s a burden but an honor.”

Multiple awards and scholarships were presented at the ceremony. These included:

The Texas State Bar Exam Achievement Award was presented to Andrew Middleton as the graduate with the highest score on the February Texas state bar exam. This year, Texas A&M School of Law ranked third out of nine law schools in first-time bar exam pass rate in the state. The award was presented by Marta Miller '06, director of the Academic Support program.


Andrew Middleton 2014 graduation
Bar Exam Achievement Award
recipient Andrew Middleton '13

The Equal Justice Award was given to Kyle Morris for serving 357 hours of pro bono work at the Denton District Attorney’s Office. The class of 2014 contributed a total of 10,691 hours of pro bono legal services to the community. The Equal Justice program and pro bono service are cornerstones of the law school. Dean Jeffers, who oversees the Equal Justice program, presented the award.


Kyle Morris 2014 graduation
The Equal Justice Award winner Kyle Morris

The MacLean & Boulware Endowed Law Scholarship was awarded to Camesha Little, who demonstrated high moral character during her law school career and exhibited the potential and desire to become a successful, ethically conscious attorney. The scholarship was presented by Maxine Harrington, associate dean for academic affairs.


Camesha Little 2014 graduation
Camesha Little receives the Boulware Endowed Law Scholarship Award

The Scribes Award recipients inducted into the National Order of Scribes included Anthony Cuesta, Andrew Middleton, Johan Soederbaum, Shawna Young, and Elan Longstreet, honoring their excellence in legal writing. Professor Neil Sobol, director of the Legal Analysis, Research, and Writing program, presented the awards.


Scribes 2014 graduation2014 Order of Scribes

The Mark Faris Memorial Award was presented by Rosalind Jeffers, associate dean of academic affairs, to Micki Stokes for embodying the legacy that Faris left behind — to finish the law school race, regardless of the hurdles faced. Faris passed away after a courageous battle with colon cancer, May 14, 2013, just days after receiving his law degree.


Micki Stokes 2014 graduation
Micki Stokes receives the Mark Faris Award

In addition to the loss of Faris, the class of 2014 saw another classmate, Bren Harrington, pass ​away during their time at law school. The class observed a moment of silence for Bren and a sign reserving his seat among his classmates marked his absence from the event.

Professors Malinda Seymore and Peter Reilly were awarded the Frederic White Scholarship for their research and development in the areas of adoption law and alternative dispute law, respectively.

Texas A&M School of Law honors veterans at pre-graduation cording ceremony

To honor Texas A&M's rich tradition of military service, a veteran’s ceremony honoring active-duty military and veteran law school graduates preceded the commencement where 12 service members were recognized by Judge Joe Spurlock II. They were presented with commemorative red, white and blue cords to wear at graduation. Spurlock is a Texas A&M School of Law professor, decorated Vietnam War Army veteran, and Texas A&M University class of 1960.

Veteran Cords May 2014Texas A&M School of Law veteran graduates "Gig 'Em" with faculty veterans after receiving their red, white, and blue cords.

- Article by Daniella Wiedel, photos by Glen E. Ellman