The Catholic University of America

 

 

In This Journey With You Forever:
Celebrating the Commencement of the Class of 2012

2012 Commencement Video

Most commencement ceremonies are a mixture of powerful emotions: joy, pride, hope, sadness over the finality of the shared experience, and even anxiety over a future that has yet to unfold.  
 
For one new alumnus, however, the future unfolded quite suddenly. In a remarkable example of good timing, the brand new lawyer, a graduate of the Securities Law certificate program, received an offer of employment via voice mail during the commencement ceremony.
       
The fortunate turn of events hopefully bode well for all of the 228 members of The Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law Class of 2012, who received their JDs during the law school's 123rd commencement ceremony, held at Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on May 25.
 
Surrounded by family members, friends, and loved ones, the new graduates donned their caps and gowns, hugged and posed for pictures, assembled for their class portrait and stood in procession lines, all for one last time as a unified group of law school classmates.
 
Addressing a graduating class for her sixth and final time as dean of the law school, Dean Veryl Miles complimented the students on their class spirit and commitment to community service during their law school careers.
 
“We are telling the world that you are prepared to be professional problem solvers, counselors, advocates, negotiators, defenders, mediators, regulators, legislators, law reformers and more,” said the dean. “As you move into this new phase of your journey, remember that we are in this with you forever. We are part of your professional lifeline now, as is our alumni community of 11,000 worldwide, an alumni network that works and we are committed to get you to it.”
 
The 2012 Commencement address was delivered by one of the law school’s most accomplished alumni, Daniel S. Gallagher, (left) Class of 1999 and one of five commissioners that lead the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.    
          
Appointed by President Obama in 2011, Gallagher is the law school’s first alumnus to serve as a commissioner on the nation’s foremost regulatory body for protecting investors, maintaining fair and efficient markets, and promoting capital formation.
 
The commissioner spent some time directly addressing his own career arc, recounting the serendipitous series of breaks, connections, and risks and chances taken that brought him to his current high position. 
 
“As you make your way through your legal career, you should look for, and seize when appropriate, opportunities that – although they may take you out of your comfort zone – can provide you with unique skills and credentials,” advised Gallagher. “Be continually alert for new opportunities, and when they come out of left field, you need to take a deep breath and think through whether it could be a ‘game changer’ for your career.”
 
   
 
Gallagher has experience in both private practice and public service lawyering, and he advised the young graduates to carefully consider the latter.
 
“Public service will make you a better lawyer. You will get real, hands-on experience; you will play a key role in the matters you work on, and, most importantly, you will have a sense of purpose and mission that is incredibly rewarding,” he said.  

Gallagher was presented with the President’s Medal from Catholic University, and also an Honorary Certificate from the Securities Law Program.
 
A recent speech given before The Association for Legal Career Professionals offered a bright thought for 2012 law school graduates. The speaker pointed out that with a reported 80 million Baby Boomers, who make up half of all lawyers, close to retirement, and only 46 million Gen-Xers, who account for only 20 percent of practicing attorneys, available to assume their roles, "the long-term prospects for lawyers are encouraging."
 
Lindsey Cloud- Mervis, (left) who has served as president of the Society of Trial Advocates and was chosen to speak on behalf of the students, acknowledged the employment uncertainty facing many law school graduates today, but urged her classmates to keep things in perspective.
 
“Knowing where we started and how far we’ve come makes any uncertainty about the future seem like it’s going to be ok,” she said. “One thing is certain: we were here in the same place, at the same time. Those bonds are and always will be, solid gold.”

Honors and Awards

John L. Garvey Faculty Award for the student with the highest academic average

Evening division: Jill Suzann Gosselink        
Day division: Mary Whitney Thuell 

 
Michael F. Curtin Pro Bono Award

Kenneth Christopher Hall
 
 
Nell Hennessy Employee Benefits Scholar award

Mary Whitney Thuell

 
Law School Alumni Society Award

(Part-Time Division): Renee Elizabeth Trotter
(Full-Time Division): Michelle Lynn Curth

 
Faculty Marshal

Professor Raymond J. Wyrsch