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Pepperdine Celebrates Commencement for the Class of 2011

Pepperdine University School of Law celebrated commencement for the Class of 2011 on Friday, May 20, in Alumni Park. The ceremony featured several members of the Class of 2011. Janelle M. White gave the invocation while class valedictorian Samuel D. Green led the Pledge of Allegiance. Kimberly L. McCall sang the national anthem, and Shane L. Michael gave the student address. 

Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University, addressed the graduates. James M. Rishwain, Jr., (JD ’84) firm chair of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, received the Distinguished Alumnus Award.

In his speech Michaels said, "We owe the Pepperdine law faculty thanks for cultivating us into the next generation of lawyers and keepers of the Rule of Law."

Rishwain, a 1984 alumnus, spoke to being a lawyer with character. "My fellow partners selected me as firm chair because they trusted me," he reflected. "Pepperdine's mission emphasizes the development of character and higher principles."

George spoke to law as a high calling. "When faith is at the center of one's life, one's profession is vocation or calling," he said. He encouraged graduates to listen to the humanly impossible demand before them, and with God's help to meet it. 

Rishwain is the firm chair of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, an international, full-service law firm with strengths in energy, financial services, real estate, and technology. Pillsbury offices are located on the West, East, and Gulf Coasts of the United States; London, U.K.; Tokyo, Japan; and Shanghai, China. As firm chair, his primary responsibility is to execute the firm’s strategic plan and policies established by the Pillsbury board, which he chairs.

George is a renowned scholar in the areas of constitutional interpretation, civil liberties, and philosophy and the law. His numerous scholarly articles have been published in the Harvard Law Review, the Yale Law Journal, the Columbia Law Review, the Review of Politics, the Review of Metaphysics, and Law and Philosophy. He is the author of several books including Making Men Moral: Civil Liberties and Public Morality and In Defense of Natural Law.

A reception followed the commencement ceremony. For more information, visit the website