In a processional accompanied by the proud wail of bagpipes, members of Chapman University Fowler School of Law’s Class of 2017 walked across campus toward the tree-lined Wilson Field Friday, symbolically marking the transition from students to graduates at the law school’s 20th commencement ceremony.

View a webcast of the full commencement ceremony.

View more photos.

After a moving rendition of the National Anthem sung by graduating student Gabrielle LaCarre, Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar of the California Supreme Court welcomed the graduating students to the legal profession and implored them to appreciate the lessons learned from unexpected sources. “Your actions reveal the values that define you and bind you to others,” he said. “Reflect on the unexpected ways that your relationships teach you more than you expected. Regardless of whether your story makes you a prosecutor or probate lawyer or patent lawyer, your relationships will define you, your dreams and desires, your influence, and your willingness to give or forgive.”

During the ceremony, Wylie A. Aitken, Chair of the Chapman University Board of Trustees, was presented with an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree by President Daniele Struppa. Reminding the graduates of their great responsibility as lawyers, Aitken stated, “I don’t know if there has ever been a more turbulent time in this country. We have to remember how important it is that we have lawyers, and we have judges, and that we continue to promote the respect and understanding that the law deserves.”

Dean Matt Parlow recognized summa cum laude graduate Mallorie Smith, the 2017 valedictorian and recipient of the Carmelina Doti Academic Excellence Award, along with those students graduating magna cum laude and cum laude (listed below). President Struppa then formally conferred Master of Laws and Juris Doctor degrees on the graduating LL.M. and JD students, followed by the formal hooding ceremony. At the conclusion of the ceremony, Dean Parlow commending the new graduates on their hard work and expressed his confidence in their futures. He then offered three pieces of advice: to develop and invest in professional relationships, to maintain a positive and professional reputation, and to embrace the opportunities that lie ahead.

“You have told me that the friendships you made with your classmates and the mentoring relationships with faculty members were some of the most important elements of law school for you,” Dean Parlow said. “This will hold true as your career unfolds. You will become friends with co-workers, opposing counsel, clients, and others with whom you interact at work. Invest in those relationships that you make in your career, as no one succeeds in this profession without the help and support of others.”

The student graduation speaker, Sadaf Djavadi, thanked members of her family and friends who supported her throughout law school and encouraged her fellow graduates to celebrate their accomplishment and hard work. The ceremony closed with the announcement of the 2017 M. Katherine Baird Darmer Outstanding Professor of the Year Award. This year’s recipient, Professor Mario Mainero, is a beloved Fowler School of Law faculty member and director of the law school’s Bar Exam Preparation Program.

One day earlier, Chapman’s graduating LL.M. students participated in an intimate hooding ceremony at the law school. Learn more about the LL.M ceremony.

2017 commencementHighest honors of the Class of 2017:

Summa cum laude:

Mallorie Smith

Magna cum laude:

Sayuri Espinosa
William Migler
Kevin Oveisi
Kerri Polizzi
Amanda Thyden
Eleni Watts

Cum laude:

Jon Abramson
Jessica Bridgeman
Joy Diaz
Jeffrey Farano
Grace Haeri
Kathryn Harrold
Ardavon Jahanian
Ashley Mascari
Alton Moore
Rachel Noblett
Kristen Michelle Rivers
Michael Tang
Adam Thursby
Christina Vier
Regina Zernay