Fall 2014 Hooding and Commencement Ceremony

December 23, 2014

The Texas A&M University School of Law Fall Hooding and Commencement ceremony was held December 19, 2014, at the Fort Worth Convention Center with 42 students earning their Doctor of Jurisprudence degree.

Justice Lee Gabriel gives the Keynote Address at Texas A&M Law School Dec 2014 commencement and hooding ceremonyJustice Lee Gabriel and Dean Andrew Morriss

The Honorable Lee Gabriel, Justice for the Second Court of Appeals, served as keynote speaker for the Fall Commencement ceremony. Through her address, “Life is a Moving Target,” Justice Gabriel discussed her career as a clerk, attorney, judge and now justice, and she shared the “rights” every law graduate now has: the right to make a mistake; the right to change your mind; the right to be yourself; and the right to take a day off. These are all lessons that Justice Gabriel has learned throughout her career and felt were important to pass on to the Class of 2014.

During his first commencement as Dean, Andrew Morriss addressed the graduates and guests in his welcoming remarks. He expressed his thanks to the families of those graduating for the support and encouragement they showed throughout the law school careers of all graduates.

James 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 Lewis began with a message of gratitude for the law school faculty, friends and family. He also thanked his fellow graduates for their friendship and camaraderie, for challenging him throughout law school and for helping him “think like a lawyer.”

Multiple awards and scholarships were presented at the ceremony:

The Texas State Bar Exam Achievement Award - presented by Marta Miller, Director of Academic Support, to Shawna Young as the graduate with the highest score on the July 2014 Texas state bar exam.

The Equal Justice Award - given to Andrew Dammann for serving 301 hours of pro bono work at the Fort Worth Public Defenders Office. The December graduates contributed a total of 2,467.29 hours of pro bono legal services to the community. The Equal Justice Program and pro bono service are cornerstones of the law school. Dean Rosalind Jeffers, who oversees the Equal Justice Program, presented the award.

The MacLean & Boulware Endowed Law Scholarship - awarded to Sheena Winkfield, 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.

In addition to receiving their degree, graduates were "hooded" by members of faculty selected by the graduating class. The Texas A&M Law hoods, in the tradition of academic regalia, are lined with Aggie Maroon and are faced with purple to signify the Juris Doctor degree.

Texas A&M School of Law graduate Shawna Young receives Bar Exam Achievement Award
Shawna Young (L) - Bar Exam Achievement Award

Texas A&M School of Law graduate Andrew Dammann receives the Equal Justice Award
Andrew Dammann (R) - Equal Justice Award

Texas A&M School of Law graduate Sheena Winkfield receives the MacLean Boulware Award Sheena Winkfield (R) - MacLean & Boulware Award

Veterans' Ceremony

To honor Texas A&M's rich tradition of military service, a veterans' ceremony honoring active-duty military and veteran law school graduates preceded the commencement where three service members were recognized by Professor Dennis Kelly. They were presented with commemorative red, white and blue cords to wear at graduation. Kelly, who served as a captain in the United States Army, earned his J.D. with honors from Texas Tech University School of Law and received his B.S. in civil engineering from Texas A&M University.

Texas A&M Law School Dec 2014 Veteran Cord CeremonyTexas A&M School of Law veteran graduates "Gig 'Em" with faculty veterans after receiving their red, white, and blue cords.
(L-R): Graduate veterans Shawn Crawford, Michael Foley, and Gregory Prickett with faculty veterans Dean Emeritus Frank Elliott (Purple Heart recipient), Paul George (Purple Heart recipient), James McGrath, Judge Joe Spurlock '60, and H. Dennis Kelly '73
Texas A&M Law School Dec 2014 Student Graduation Speaker Andrew Lewis Texas A&M Law School Dec 2014 Graduation - grad with Dean Morriss Texas A&M Law School Dec 2014 Graduation - grad with Judge Joe Spurlock
Texas A&M Law School Dec 2014 Graduation celebration - baby Texas A&M Law School Dec 2014 Graduation celebration - family Texas A&M Law School Dec 2014 Graduation celebration - friends

- Article by Regan Gilstrap, photos by Doug Thurman