In keeping with the holiday season, Thomas Jefferson School of Law’s December 17 graduation was a joyous occasion.
“I am overjoyed,” said Danielle Mor, one of the new graduates. “This is something I’ve wanted to do all my life.”
“It feels amazing,” said Serina Monder. “I never thought this day would come.”
More than 70 graduates received their juris doctor degrees, and three graduates received their LL.M. (Master of Laws) degrees at San Diego's beautiful Symphony Hall.
”You have put considerable work and dedication into law school,” said TJSL Dean Rudy Hasl. “And today, we celebrate your achievement. You are ready to join a noble and learned profession.”
“Graduating from law school is an amazing accomplishment,” valedictorian and summa cum laude graduate Melissa Lewis told the audience. “You should be proud of yourselves, as I am sure your loved ones here today are. The value of your degree, is what you make of it,” referring to the many alumni she with whom she has spoken. “An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.”
Lewis acknowledged her father, who graduated from TJSL in 2001, whom she used to accompany to class as a little girl. She also acknowledged her daughter Emma whom she says is her “inspiration.”
Professor Thomas Golden was given a special commendation for 35 years of highly distinguished service to the law school and had the honor of being the commencement speaker. He took the audience on a humorous journey over the past 35 years, back to the days before Windows, Apple and the Internet.
“Windows used to be holes in the wall covered with glass," he said. “An apple was something you ate one of a day, and the internet was the lining in men’s bathing suits,” he said to a hall full of laughter.
On a more serious note, Professor Golden spoke of the astounding amount of knowledge the students have acquired during law school, “and that acquisition of knowledge continues and never stops.”
Professor Golden urged the students to completely dedicate themselves to studying for the bar exam, and told them that once they are practicing law their work will have “lasting effects, not just for your clients, but for all of society.”
There was indeed joy, but for some graduates, like Kim Carter, the day was bittersweet. “I have mixed emotions," Carter said. “I’m happy I’m done, but I’m sad about leaving. But I’m looking forward to new things.”
“It’s a great culmination,” said Michael Green, who will sit for the bar in Utah. “It’s been a long road.”
“It’s all done,” said Allyson Evans. "It’s like a great weight has been lifted off my shoulders.”
After the ceremony, everyone was invited to a reception at TJSL’s new downtown campus to give families and friends a chance to tour the law school and take photos together.
The graduates shared great feelings of gratitude for the family and friends who have been with them along the journey.
“Thank you for supporting me through this fulfilling journey,” said Serina Monder.
“I want to thank my family for all their love and support,” said Danielle Mor. “I never could have done it without them.”