Fall 2015 Hooding and Commencement Ceremony

December 22, 2015

dec2015-grad-330aThirty-eight Texas A&M University School of Law students received their Juris Doctor degree at the Fall Hooding and Commencement ceremony on December 18, 2015, at the Fort Worth Convention Center.

The keynote speaker for the fall ceremony was Judge Mark T. Pittman ’97 of the 352nd Judicial District Court. Pittman said he hoped the graduates take three things away from his speech: 1) that things aren’t always as bad as they seem, 2) they are embarking on a noble profession, and 3) stick to the Aggie Core Values of excellence, integrity, leadership, loyalty, respect and selfless service.
Dec 2015 Commencement - PittmanJudge Mark T. Pittman

“Aggies don’t lie, cheat or honor those who do,” he said.

Nic Taunton ’07 inducted the graduates into the Aggie Network of more than 650,000 members worldwide on behalf of the Association of Former Students. “Grads, you’re now and forever a Texas Aggie, whoop!” he said.

Dr. Stanton Calvert, Vice Chancellor Emeritus of the Texas A&M University System, authorized Dean Morriss to confer academic degrees to the law school graduates on behalf of the Board of Regents.

Before the graduates were hooded, honorable recognitions were handed out.

Dec2015-grad-722aThe Texas State Bar Exam Achievement Award was presented by Professor James McGrath, Director of Academic Support, to May 2015 graduate Kelly Christopher Shelton as the Aggie Law graduate with the highest score on the July 2015 Texas state bar exam.

In honor of Texas A&M's rich tradition of military service, veterans Professor Joe Spurlock ’60 and Professor H. Dennis Kelly ’73 presented the student veteran commemorative red, white and blue graduation cord to Marshall Bridges. Bridges served two tours in Afghanistan as a U.S. Air Force combat medic and currently serves in the Air Force Reserves.

Dec2015-grad-417The Equal Justice Award was presented to Richard Brand as the graduate who has contributed the greatest number of hours of pro bono legal services, exemplifying selfless service. In the summer of 2014, Brand initiated a pro bono clinic in Kaufman County.

The December graduates contributed a total of 1,8​50.4 hours of pro bono legal services to the community. The Equal Justice Program and pro bono service are cornerstones of the law school. Assistant Dean Rosalind Jeffers, who oversees the program, presented the award.

dec2015-grad-spkrSara Bonau
Elected student commencement speaker Sara Bonau was grateful for the honor to speak to the class. “It’s unusual for one student to speak on behalf of the class when no two experiences are alike,” she said.

However, she said the common challenges faced by every law student can transform each person.

“The experience [of law school] doesn’t defeat you, it changes you,” she said. “Change is never easy, but it’s essential for growth and development.”

In addition to receiving their degree, graduates were "hooded" by faculty members selected by the graduating class: Professor James McGrath, Professor Joe Spurlock and Professor Stephen Alton. 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.

Dean and Anthony G. Buzbee’s Dean Endowed Chair Andrew Morriss concluded the ceremony by reminding the graduates that receiving this degree and being a lawyer is a wonderful thing. However, they’re not exactly done. The bar exam is the next challenge and the upcoming two months will be filled with more preparation and studying, and that all starts soon.

“We’ll see you on Monday,” he said.

See ​our Facebook album for more photos.

Dec2015 Commencement group

- Article by Jennifer Nassar, Communications Specialist, Texas A&M University School of Law