Grey skies couldn’t dampen the spirits of graduates on May 22, the evening of Chapman University Dale E. Fowler School of Law’s 2015 Commencement exercises. Thirty-two LL.M. and 137 JD graduates walked proudly across the Holly and David Wilson Field to accept their respective degrees as their friends and families cheered.

208a3799This year’s keynote speaker was Judge Margaret McKeown of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Judge McKeown was the first female partner at the Perkins Coie law firm, and practiced complex litigation, intellectual property, antitrust and constitutional law. Her advice to the graduating class was to consider her four “S’s”—serendipity, service, serious (or not-so-serious) and serenity—as they enter into their careers as new attorneys. Judge McKeown said that the four tenets are intended to serve as a reminder to remain open to new opportunities, to remember that the practice of law is not only about the law but also the people, and to strive for a healthy work-life balance, no matter how unattainable it may seem.

“If there’s a hallmark of a good lawyer, it’s how to grow in wisdom, how to not get lost in your ego and how to seize that moment of serendipity and run with it,” she said.

Fowler School of Law Dean Tom Campbell spoke on the new possibilities open to students, comparing their journeys as new attorneys to the state of California, constantly in a state of reinvention. He encouraged graduates to use their newfound skills for betterment across the globe. “The only mistake is to be so convinced of the satisfactory nature of your current spot that you don’t jump when a promise comes along,” he said.


Vivian Ogechukwu Kalu

Parisah Robinson delivered the JD response, congratulating her fellow classmates and highlighting the many accomplishments of the graduating class, including sold out symposia, competition victories, and national and international travel. Vivian Ogechukwu Kalu, originally from Nigeria, delivered the LL.M. response. Kalu recounted her first uncertain days at the Fowler School of Law where she was warmly welcomed by the Fowler Law community. She noted that she will always remember the kindness and humility of the Fowler Law faculty. She encouraged her classmates to carry the same characteristics into their own careers: “Certificates are temporal but the positive impact we make with the certificates is eternal.”

The ceremony closed with the announcement of the 2015 M. Katherine Baird Darmer Outstanding Professor of the Year Award, awarded to Professor and former Interim Dean, Scott Howe, one of the most beloved of all the Fowler Law faculty members. Associate Dean Donald Kochan gave an insightful benediction.

On Thursday, May 21, several graduates were honored at the graduation banquet for JD students and the LL.M. graduation reception. The 2015 Valedictorian and recipient of the Carmelina Doti Academic Excellence Award was Amanda M. Herman.

Congratulations to the class of 2015 graduates! Thank you to all of the faculty and staff that made commencement possible. Watch a recording of the Commencement Exercises for the Chapman University Dale E. Fowler School of Law Class of 2015.

Watch a slideshow of the Commencement Ceremony


2015 Graduates with Academic Honors

Summa cum Laude:

Amanda M. Herman

Magna cum Laude:

John-Christopher M. Hughes Matthew Christopher Pellegrini
William Francis Kelly, Jr. Amanda Victoria Thompson

Cum Laude:

Jack Dustin Anderson James D. Decker Kaelan Khanh Nguyen
Alexandra Baily Andreen Alexandra Nicole Iorfino Hadeer Sahar Soliman
Rachel Alexi Baker Nilofar Karbassi Jay S. Yu
Benjamin C. Bertch Michelle Francisco Lumasag
Andrew M. Cummings Robert Lewis Montanez

2015 Juris Doctor Graduates

Anthony Patrick Abbey Hilda A. Akopyan Zhara Alice Al-Nadaf
Andrew Shingo Amano Jack Dustin Anderson Ryan Neil Anderson
Alexandra Baily Andreen Anum Arshad Arthur Arutyunyants
Christopher James Avery Karina Mary Babikian Rachel Alexi Baker
Erica Lauren Bashaw Jared S. Berman Zachary Harris Bernstein
Benjamin C. Bertch Grant Owen Blanco Seth Christian Bowen
Brittany Jane Brear Evan Brennan Veronica Amber Buckels
Derrick Yu Chu Merritt E. Cosgrove Matthew T. Cox
Stephanie Reneé Crosson Andrew M. Cummings Alison Q. Dang
Aaron Murphy Davidson Alexander Davis James D. Decker
Megan Janet Gless Demshki Brendan W. Dominguez Tina M. Duan
Daniella F. Elizalde Priscilla B. George Devin Ray Gifford
Vincent Anthony Gonzalez Nida Fatima Hasan Amanda M. Herman
Geoffrey Michael Hersch Gabriela Maria Moncayo Higgins Diana Young Ho
Long D. Hoang John-Christopher M. Hughes Monica Bridget Huie
Andrew Douglas Iles Alexandra Nicole Iorfino Anela E. Isayeva
Boyd Cooper Johnson Sarah Michelle Johnson Kelton James Johnson
Samantha J. Jones Nicole Elizabeth Kahn Daniel Max Kalinowski
Artur Kamali Elyse S. Kaplan Avie Kapoor
Nilofar Karbassi Laurie Christine Keating Kristin Loraine Kelly
William Francis Kelly, Jr. John P. Khuu Alain Kinaly
Tiffany Shirley Kuo Megan J. Lane Michael David Laughlin
Tien Phuoc Le Jasmine Anne Lee Kane Leonard
George Geoffrey Lerew Madeline B. Liebreich Catherine Boeun Lim
Julie Haram Lin Claudia Lopez Michelle Francisco Lumasag
Julianna E. Madden Jordan M. Maggard Jonathan Ong Mason
Shane Hamilton Melzer Bonnie Nicole Micheil Robert Lewis Montanez
Jamie E. Murdock Kaelan Khanh Nguyen Issa M. Nino
Hannah Taylor Passano Matthew Christopher Pellegrini George H. Peniche III
Michelina Maria Perani Lisa Michelle Poladian Anna Evans Putterman
Mathieu H. Putterman Shea M. Randall Ali Razavi
Katlin Ann Ritchey Parisah Robinson Ravyn M. Rowland
Shaun Eric Sanders Kareen Sassounian Allison Marie Scott
Clark Edward Selters Keren Briseida Serrano Madiha Shahabuddin
Atif M. Sheikh Richa N. Sheth Eugene Suhk Shin
Hamza Siddiqui Maxwell P. Skipworth Kyle R. Smith-Murray
Hadeer Sahar Soliman Philip J. Spinazze Christopher Thomas Stark
Michael Jerome Stodolka Ryan W. Streckfus Malina Tavakkoli
Jennifer H. Tedmori Amanda Victoria Thompson Tyler Cashion Toomey
Jennifer Le Tran Jeanne M. Tran Matthew Huy Truong
Faheem A. Tukhi Kevin L. VandenBroeke Kole Donley Vaughn
Gabriel Joseph Vigh Laura Nicole Vossler Stephanie Ann Vreeland
Dalia M. Wahab Deleela M. Ivey Weinerman Megan E. Wessel
Jason D. Westerfeld Janelle Turner Wilke Brandon Daniel Willms
Tom Yacko Jay S. Yu William Patrick Zakis
Jeffrey Allan Zuckerman


Students Graduating with an Emphasis

Advocacy and Dispute Resolution Emphasis

Andrew Shingo Amano Anela E. Isayeva Parisah Robinson
Arthur Arutyunyants Alain Kinaly Jennifer Le Tran
Seth Christian Bowen Julie Haram Lin Janelle Turner Wilke
Matthew T. Cox Shane Hamilton Melzer Jay S. Yu
Andrew M. Cummings Bonnie Nicole Micheil
Jamie E. Murdock

Business Law Emphasis

Rachel Alexi Baker Hannah Taylor Passano Kyle R. Smith-Murray
Stephanie Reneé Crosson Anna Evans Putterman Philip J. Spinazze
Nicole Elizabeth Kahn Katlin Ann Ritchey Tom Yacko
Nilofar Karbassi Allison Marie Scott
Laurie Christine Keating Atif M. Sheikh
Kristin Loraine Kelly Richa N. Sheth

Entertainment Law Emphasis

Zhara Alice Al-Nadaf Merritt E. Cosgrove Eugene Suhk Shin
Jack Dustin Anderson Stephanie Reneé Crosson Kole Donley Vaughn
Ryan Neil Anderson Tiffany Shirley Kuo
Evan Brennan Jordan M. Maggard

 Environmental, Land Use and Real Estate Law Emphasis

Grant Owen Blanco Daniel Max Kalinowski Ryan W. Streckfus
Alison Q. Dang Tien Phuoc Le Malina Tavakkoli
James D. Decker Mathieu H. Putterman

International Law Emphasis

Megan J. Lane Kane Leonard

Tax Emphasis

Vincent Anthony Gonzalez Anna Evans Putterman Kevin L. VandenBroeke
Nicole Elizabeth Kahn Kyle R. Smith-Murray William Patrick Zakis