Seventh Graduating Class to Continue the Tradition of ExcellenceMay 14, 2013
Ninety-one law students participated in the annual graduation ceremonies held this past Saturday, May 11, 2013, as Liberty University School of Law commissioned its seventh graduating class. The School of Law held its ceremony in the historic OldThomas Road Baptist Church.
The Class of 2013 was recognized for their academic accomplishments during the law school’s annual hooding ceremony. The ceremonial hooding of graduates signifies the attainment of a degree higher than the bachelor’s degree.
Mathew D. Staver, Dean and Professor of Law, opened the ceremony with celebratory remarks and a word to the graduating class. “Today, Class of 2013, we, the faculty of Liberty University School of Law, honor your accomplishments. Family and friends from all over the world have come to rejoice in your future achievements. No longer will you make arguments for a grade. Your arguments will now affect real people. Your writings will have ripple effects around the world. You have been trained well and you have climbed the mountain. You are armed with the law and propelled by the love of Christ.”
Additional speakers for the 2013 School of Law commencement exercises included Student Bar Association (SBA) President Gregory Earl; SBA Chaplain Kendra Johnson, magna cum laude graduate and Spirit of Liberty award recipient, and Jonathan Sater, summa cum laude graduate. The Spirit of Liberty award is given to the student who has demonstrated excellence in spiritual and moral character, excelled academically and in co-curricular activities, who has a dedicated commitment to the mission of the law school, and is an exemplary model of servant-leadership.
Challenging the class to live out the Great Commission, Johnson said, “My challenge to the class of 2013 is to go wherever God sends you and make disciples in a hurting nation. Through the Holy Spirit we have constant communication with God. We must seek out His wisdom to do our job with excellence. We must seek out His grace if we are called to defend someone that no one else would. Through Christ, we can be a vessel of reconciliation to a dying nation. We must use the tools God has given us to go and be His hands and feet in our new legal professions.”
Reflecting on past achievements of the class, SBA President Greg Earl said, “We have accomplished great things in a short amount of time. Our friend, Mark Bold, spent the past year fighting for victims of sterilization in Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina. Brian Giaquinto helped fifty families keep their homes when an environmentalist group attempted to take their land because of waste runoff. James Kimmey proposed legislation to overturn a law construed as a poll tax for disenfranchised voters.”
Closing his speech, Earl referenced a quote from Judge Robert Ulrich, former Associate Professor for the School of Law, “The worst thing in life is to fail in the mission that God has called you to by not living by His standard or according to His word—we must follow that principle as there is no other way to live.”
Prior to the symbolic hooding, Dean Staver encouraged the class and added, “Everyday our liberties and values are being challenged. As graduates of Liberty University School of Law, you have been uniquely trained and now your opportunities become your responsibilities. Be a light in the darkness. Use your skills to restore the foundations of law. With God, all things are possible.”
Following the hooding ceremony, a small representation from the inaugural graduating class of Paralegal Studies, were present to take part in the ceremony. The paralegal program began Summer 2011.
With the seventh class graduating from Liberty University School of Law and the first Paralegal Studies graduates, the vision of the late Dr. Jerry Falwell, Founder of Liberty University, to produce champions for Christ trained to use law as a fulcrum for good…continues.