The Catholic University of America



2015 Graduates Urged to “Be a Champion in Work and Life”

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With the rigors of their years of study behind them, on May 22 the Columbus School of Law’s Class of 2015 concluded their legal education to the celebratory cheers and tears of family and friends during the law school’s 126th commencement at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC.

The commencement address was offered by Michael J. Bidwill ’90, president of the Arizona Cardinals and a member of CUA Law’s Board of Visitors. A former assistant U.S. Attorney with the Department of Justice in Phoenix, Bidwill is also a licensed pilot and flying enthusiast. He donates his time to the “Flying Samaritans,” a group of volunteers who offer free medical clinics in Mexico. He is a member of the Air Force Chief of Staff Civic Leader Program, whose membership provides ideas and advice to military professionals. He is also a member of the board for the Pat Tillman Foundation, which carries on the legacy of the former Cardinals safety who was killed in Afghanistan in 2004.

After conferral of the degree Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, by John Garvey, President of the Catholic University of America, Bidwill drew upon his experience in managing his NFL organization to urge graduates to set high expectations for themselves. He noted the importance of a strong work ethic, two-way communication, conscientiousness, and being a self-starter in order to ensure career success.

Bidwill concluded by saying, “Fifth, be a champion not only in your work but also life. You can’t do it alone. So build a championship-caliber team around you both at work and in your personal life. And be a champion to your community. Give back with your time, skills, and resources. Everyone can make a difference.”

Along with the spectacular spring weather, the occasion highlights also included remarks by Dean Daniel F. Attridge, who encouraged graduates to relish the memories of their experience and to remember the community of classmates, faculty, and staff they have come to know. Citing words from the Old Testament Book of Joshua, Dean Attridge noted, “In today’s context, what do Joshua’s words mean for you? Make a difference in the lives of other people, in your community, your country, and the world. Make the most of what you have been given. Nothing less is expected from those who receive a law degree from the Columbus School of Law.” After urging graduates to stay connected and engaged with the Law School, Dean Attridge concluded with an Irish blessing, which has become his custom at important CUA Law events.

Amanda Azarian, Student Bar Association President and a member of the graduating class, presented Reverend Raymond O’Brien as Faculty Marshal. She noted, “The class of 2015 is immensely grateful to Father O’Brien for inspiring, guiding, and challenging us every day and has selected him to lead us today and to call us forward to accept our diplomas. Thank you, Father, for everything you have done for your students and the Columbus School of Law.”

Azarian also introduced classmate Daniel Thomas Kane, who gave the address on behalf of the graduates. Kane served as Chief Financial Officer of the Moot Court Association, President of the Intellectual Property Law Students Association, and as a member of the CommLaw Conspectus. In his remarks, Kane urged classmates to lend a helping hand to future CUA Law students as alumni, noting, “From now on, any definition of a successful life must include service to others—and that includes the students in the place we call home.”

Father O’Brien introduced the class of 2015 candidates, with conferral of the degrees by Dean Attridge and President Garvey. One hundred and thirty-seven successful J.D. candidates received their diplomas.

The ceremony concluded with CUA President Garvey offering his congratulations to the class, and a parting word of advice. “Let your practice of law—and your life, for that matter—be characterized by gentleness….The gentle do not allow an offense to destroy their peace or rob them of their happiness. So if you are lacking in gentleness, work hard to cultivate it. Count to ten before you respond. Put down the i-phone when you’re seeing red. And remember to pray for gentleness. Christ promised that our Father in heaven will give good things to those who ask him. Congratulations and God bless you all.”

At the end of the ceremony, the Law School’s newest alumni and hundreds of families and friends streamed out of the Shrine and back to the Law School for a reception on the lawn. 

The video of the 2015 Commencement Ceremony can be seen by clicking here and photos from Commencement Day can be viewed on Facebook, as well as the Law School's Google Drive. Also if graduating students need access to any of the order forms from the 2015 Commencement, click here.




The John L. Garvey Faculty Award
Recognizes outstanding academic achievement


Katherine Olson (Part time)


Amanda Azarian (Full time)

Michael F. Curtin Pro Bono Award
Honors the highest ideals of pro bono service to others

Melissa Saldivar

Law School Alumni Association Award
Recognizes academic excellence, community participation and dedication to the law school

Christine Forgues Schlenker and Jarrod Forgues Schlenker (Part time)

Caitlyn Yuschak (Full time)