On May 8, 2009, the David A. Clarke School of Law held its annual Honors Convocation, a ceremony honoring the graduating Class of 2009, and the parents, children, friends, significant others, faculty and staff who supported the them along the way.
Associate Dean of Students Annamaria Steward organized the event and Dean Shelley Broderick served as Master of Ceremonies.
Dean Broderick, UDC President Allen Sessoms and graduating students Melanie Acuna and Stacie Mills made welcoming remarks. Kwame Willingham,'09, introduced the Convocation Speaker, Barbara Arnwine, the Executive Director of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. Ms. Arnwine's rousing speech was followed by a song from Coco Rouzier, who just so happens to be the daughter of School of Law Employee of the Year award winner, Bessie Cross!
Molly Hoffman, '09, introduced the Advocate for Justice Award winner, Shirley Williams, '82, who was recognized for her tireless work on behalf of the underrepresented while at the Neighborhood Legal Services Program and AARP's Legal Counsel for the Elderly. Dean Broderick introduced the Equal Justice Award winners, Johnny Barnes and Arthur B. Spitzer, who were recognized for their work protecting civil liberties as leaders of the ACLU of the National Capital Area.
Class Speaker Kevin Hill rallied his colleagues, followed by Keri Nash, '09, who read the poem "Still I Rise." Prof. William Pryor presented the Judge Pryor Legacy Award to Sheree King, '09. Jason Sims, '09, presented the Class of 2009's Community Service Award to Duyen Ritchie, and Julie Akemann, '09, presented the Unsung Hero Award to classmates Tonya Gibbs and and Melissa Wu. Dean Broderick recognized six graduates for service to the School of Law community: Melanie Acuna, Kevin Hill, Stacie Mills, Keri Nash, Mazi Ucheomumu, and John White. The Dean also presented staff awards to Dean Steward and law librarians John Jensen and Gail Mathapo, and recognized Professors Roy Balleste and Suji Sutler, both of whom are leaving the School this year.
Assistant Dean of Admission, Vivian Canty, and Deputy Director of Admission, Donald Pritchett, presented the Class of 2009. The ceremony closed with words from UDC Board of Trustees Chair Jim Dyke and a reading of the School of Law's credo "This I believe" by Professor Edgar Cahn.