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Congratulations Spring Class of 2015

May 18, 2015

On Saturday, May 16, 2015, the cheers and applause of proud family, friends, and faculty filled Copley Symphony Hall as May graduates assembled. Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Randy K. Jones’ introductory remarks were quickly followed by Dean Thomas Guernsey’s presentation of the Summa plaques to the most distinguished graduates, including Valedictorian Yana Loboda.

“I am here today because I followed my dreams, and the advice of Superman: You are much stronger than you think you are,” Loboda began as she addressed her peers. “Eight years ago when I arrived in the U.S., I felt frightened, vulnerable, and scared. I did not have a job, I did not have a place to live, nor did I speak English. However, I had a powerful internal drive pushing me forward; it was the desire to make my mom feel proud of me.”

Loboda acknowledged the strength and determination that characterizes the class of  2015 and reminded them, “This is our moment to be brilliant. We will pass the bar in two more months, and we will shine. The sky is not the limit, because we have no limits. Remember, you are much stronger than you think you are.”

A veteran of the legal profession, former San Diego Superior Court Judge, California State Assemblyman, professor of law, and current San Diego City Attorney Jan Goldsmith delivered the commencement address. Goldsmith offered graduates some perspective by describing the adverse conditions under which he entered the legal field in 1976, with higher inflation and unemployment rates than there are today.  “ We students were anxious of our unknown future,” Goldsmith said. “Today, many of those students sitting in the audience with me in 1976, are familiar names in the legal community. The anxiety will wear off and many of you will become judges, senior partners, and public servants.”

Goldsmith also gave graduates a few words of advice about maintaining a career as long and successful as his own. “My advice is pretty simple. Be nice, keep learning, maintain your integrity, honesty, and work hard. But there is one more thing, have fun. The practice of law is fun, have fun, enjoy it,” Goldsmith concluded.

Together, Chairman Jones, Dean Guernsey and Professor A. Thomas Golden conferred 169 Juris Doctorate degrees and 5 LL.M. degrees. As is tradition, the Alumni Association President, Jeremy Evans ‘11, welcomed  the newest graduates with a few words. “Congratulations to all of you! The number one thing I would say as you graduate  is that you  give back. I promise you that giving back will be good for business, it will be good for you, for the community, and for your fellow alumni.”