Pepperdine Caruso Law Celebrates Commencement 2023
On Friday, May 19, the members of the Pepperdine Caruso Law Class of 2023 gathered at Alumni Park to celebrate their commencement, many of whom began their law studies remotely and arrived on campus during a time of uncertainty. Over 300 graduates received their well-earned Juris Doctor, Master of Laws, Master of Dispute Resolution, or Master of Legal Studies degrees.
The ceremony opened with an invocation by director of alumni relations Jessie Fahy (JD ‘11). The class of 2023 valedictorian Maribeth Beyer then led the Pledge of Allegiance, and Caruso Law alumna Asha Madhukar (JD ‘19) sang the National Anthem.
The student address was delivered by Pedro Panelo. Panelo reminded the graduates that they embody the word “grit” and will become leaders of courage and resilience. He commended his classmates by saying, “I am confident that no matter what any of us do, whether it be as partners at law firms, business leaders, or politicians, that the world will see that we are the strongest it has ever seen.”
Dean Paul Caron presented the Distinguished Alumnus Award to Mark T. Cramer (JD ‘98). Cramer is a shareholder at Buchalter, PC, and is chair of the firm’s class-action practice group. He thanked University president Jim Gash for helping him launch his career, and credited the example of former law professor Duane Faw as inspiring him to establish Caruso Law’s “Pay It Forward” Scholarship. Cramer welcomed the new graduates, saying, “Graduates, you are now an official part of the Pepperdine community. Pepperdine will forever be part of who you are and you will forever be part of Pepperdine. That is a great privilege—and it comes with great responsibility. In the spirit of George Pepperdine, Dean Phillips, President Gash, General Faw, and so many others who are part of Pepperdine’s legacy, I encourage you to look for ways to pay it forward in your own way—and make waves.”
Cramer was followed by the Caruso Law 2023 commencement speaker, E. Martin Estrada, who was introduced by Arnold Barba, assistant dean for professional formation. As US Attorney for the Central District of California, Estrada oversees litigation for both criminal and civil cases in the second-largest US Attorney’s Office in the nation. He asked the graduates to believe in themselves, to take pride in their profession, and to harness the power of the profession to do good in the world. Estrada offered the advice, “I encourage you all to think about a career in public service. My experiences in public service are the highlights of my career. I get to represent victims, fight against corruption, and uphold civil rights. But most importantly, I have the chance to serve my community. I encourage you all to think about that on any level, whether it be federal, state, or local, or whether it be in the criminal justice or civil system. It is all beneficial to society.”
Following the commencement address Dean Caron presented the candidates for their degrees, which were conferred by President Gash. Dean Caron led the traditional hooding of the graduates before they crossed the stage to receive their degrees. The ceremony concluded with a benediction delivered by Jason Jarvis, associate dean for academic affairs.
Pepperdine Caruso Law congratulates the class of 2023 for their resilience, dedication, and excellence throughout their legal education.
The complete 2023 Caruso Law Commencement Ceremony may be viewed on YouTube.