MALIBU, CA -- On Friday, May 16, Pepperdine University School of Law awarded 225 JD, LLM, and MDR degrees to participants in the 2014 Commencement Ceremony. The main address was delivered by Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye of the California Supreme Court. The Distinguished Alumni Address was given by Laure R. Sudreau-Rippe, who announced that the new holder of the Laure Sudreau-Rippe Endowed Chair would be Vice Dean Shelley Saxer.
Among the graduates who played roles during the ceremony were Stephanie S. Lamphere, who delivered the invocation; class valedictorian Ashley E. Goff, who led the Pledge of Allegiance; and Bethany A. Estrada, who sang the National Anthem. Deborah S. Kwon gave the student address.
When originally establishing the Laure Sudreau-Rippe Endowed Chair, Ms. Sudreau-Rippe specified that "preference for future occupants of the chair would be given to those who have overcome significant obstacles in their careers." After the retirement of the previous chair holder, Professor Janet Kerr, Ms. Sudreau-Rippe chose Dean Saxer to take her place, noting that even before Dean Saxer's exemplary scholarly accomplishments and successes in the classroom, Dean Saxer had attended law school while simultaneously working in a law firm and fulfilling her duties as a wife and parent.
In introducing Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye, Dean Tacha noted the Chief Justice's extraordinary energy and her enthusiasm for promoting the legal profession. Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye, the first Asian-American chief justice of the California Supreme Court and second woman to hold the position, reminded the graduates in her address that "Your reputation is your lifeline," not just among clients and peers, but in every interaction that a lawyer has throughout the day.
The ceremony was closed with a benediction by the Honorable Terry J. Adamson, Distinguished Jurist in Residence at Pepperdine Law. Last year, Judge Adamson and her daughters sustained life-threatening injuries in a hot-air balloon accident that also took the life of her husband, Grant. Before delivering the prayer, she noted the effect that Pepperdine's international prayer vigils had had on her and her daughters following the accident.