Minnesota Law

Spring 2024
For the Record

In Celebration of Minnesota Law’s 136th Commencement Ceremony

The J.D. Class of 2024
Photo credit: Tony Nelson

The University of Minnesota Law School celebrated its 136th commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 11 at Northrop .

More than 1,500 family, friends, loved ones, faculty, and staff joined the graduating Class of 2024 on a sunny Saturday morning to cheer on the 230 J.D. candidates, 30 LL.M. candidates, three S.J.D. candidates, and four Masters of Patent Law candidates, who crossed the stage and were awarded their degrees.

In his address to the Class of 2024, Interim Dean William McGeveran, Gray, Plant, Mooty, Mooty Professor of Law, said, “You, Class of 2024, have shown perseverance in the face of challenges, you have proven your skill and dedication, and you are ready to march out those doors to make your corner of the world better as members of an honorable profession. But this year, those statements ring especially true,” said McGeveran.

McGeveran continued, “You came into your 1L year in 2021, under the twin shadows of a continuing global pandemic and a year of protests and racial reckoning in Minneapolis and across the world. Then you learned the law during a period of intense national polarization and growing distrust of the very institutions you were studying . . . The world did not stay quiet or calm while you prepared yourself to change it. Yet you persisted and made it through those challenges.”

In celebration of extraordinary contributions by our faculty over the past year, Dean McGeveran announced the 2024 recipients of the prestigious Stanley V. Kinyon Teacher of the Year Awards. Receiving the awards this year were:

●     Jill Hasday (tenured faculty)

●     Elizabeth Bentley (clinical faculty)

●     Andrew Martineau (skills/ professional faculty)

The recipients of the 2024 Stanley V. Kinyon Teacher of the Year Awards stand with Interim Dean William McGeveran in front of Morrill Hall. From L to R: Professor Elizabeth Bentley (clinical faculty recipient), Interim Dean William McGeveran, and Professor Jill Hasday (tenure faculty recipient). Not pictured: Professor Andrew Martineau (skills/professional recipient).
Photo credit: Tony Nelson

Amelia Lizarraga ’24 presented the Class of 2024 student awards. The Most Outstanding Contribution Award was presented to Job Okeri 24 and the Excellence in Public Service Award was presented to Selma El-Badawi 24.

Student award winners with Interim Dean William McGeveran. From L to R: Job Okeri ’24, Seeta Goyal ’24, Selma El-Badawi ’24, Interim Dean William McGeveran, Louica Alexandre ’24, and Amy Cohen ’24.
Photo credit: Tony Nelson

Assistant Dean of Experiential Education Mitchell E. Zamoff presented the William B. Lockhart Award for Excellence in Scholarship, Leadership, and Service to Amy Cohen 24 and Assistant Dean of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Ra’Shya Ghee 13presented the Minnesota Law Equity & Diversity Award toLouica Alexandre 24 and Louica Alexandre 24 presented the class gift — a generous contribution of $ 3,265 that unlocked a matching gift with the goal of making the Law School more affordable and accessible to everyone, regardless of their financial situation.

LL.M. class speaker Léa Nardone LL.M. '24
Photo credit: Tony Nelson

Léa Nardone LL.M. 24  delivered the LL.M. class address. She gave a warm address to the audience and said, “Studying abroad is more than just an academic pursuit; it is a transformative journey that challenges us to step outside our comfort zones, broaden our horizons, and embrace the diversity of the world. It takes courage. From navigating language barriers to adapting to new customs and traditions, every experience has served as a lesson in resilience, adaptability, and cultural humility. We made the most of it every single day despite the setbacks, the doubts, and the cold weather. We’re the living proof that it’s not only possible but it’s also well deserved.”

J.D. class speaker Samuel Ferguson ’24
Photo credit: Tony Nelson

Samuel Ferguson 24 delivered the J.D. class address. He remarked that he valued the support of his classmates on their shared journey at Minnesota Law and reminded them to stay connected. “Up until now, we have all walked down a similar path — the path that led us to this ceremony, but after today, we will split off and walk many paths. And although we have finished law school, the obstacles won’t stop as we walk out of this auditorium. In fact, they are likely to be more difficult, and more frequent. The risk of tripping and falling will only become greater. It is now, more than ever, that we should not walk alone, but continue to walk with one another. Our paths diverge, but our support for our each other should persist.”

Keynote speaker Liwanag Ojala ’98
Photo credit: Tony Nelson

Liwana Ojala 98, senior vice president and chief transformation officer at American Public Media Group and Minnesota Public Radio, delivered the keynote address to the graduating class. She highlighted the power of a legal education from Minnesota Law. “There are many choices available to you with the power of a legal education. With your new legal training- you can be a potential leader in diminishing these divisions and truly build human connection. This powerful legal education enables you to be in rooms where things happen. This power will open doors for you in new ways, enabling you to have a great impact on the pursuit of the truth, advancing justice, advocating to protect the underrepresented, honoring your own principles for what is right, and preserving our democracy. I hope that you will use the power of your thoughtfulness, humanity, and voice. Don’t miss this moment in our history to be a part of progressing solutions in our society - we will require reasonable, thoughtful leaders like you to meet our challenges.”

Following Ojala’s address, University of Minnesota Regent Janie Mayeron 76officially conferred the degrees.

Regent Janie Mayeron '76, Liwanag Ojala '98, Interim Dean William McGeveran, and Executive Vice President & Provost Rachel T.A. Croson.
Photo credit: Tony Nelson

The J.D. class was presented by Professor Jill Hasday and Assistant Dean of Experiential Education Mitchell Zamoff. Kara Galvin, director of International and Graduate Programs presented the LL.M. class and the S.J.D. class, and Professor Christopher M. Turoski 98presented the Master of Patent Law class.

At the end of the ceremony, members of TORT sang “Hail! Minnesota.” The participating TORT singers were Dominic Detwiler ’24, Lauren Butler ’24, Mallorie Sckerl ’24, Ray Mestad ’24, Mohammad Ziny ’24, and Jacque Randolph ’24.

TORT Singers from L to R: Ray Mestad ’24, Jacque Randolph ’24, Mohammad Ziny ’24, Interim Dean William McGeveran, Dominic Detwiler ’24, Lauren Butler ’24, and Mallorie Sckerl ’24 (front).
Photo credit: Tony Nelson

The ceremony ended with the Stone Arch Brass performing the recessional.

Congratulations to the Class of 2024!