Minnesota Law Celebrates Its 134th Commencement 

The Law School held its 134th commencement on Saturday, May 14 at Northrop auditorium, the first time the ceremony has returned to its traditional venue as an in-person event in three years.

The 2021 and 2020 commencements were held as virtual and live-stream events due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than 1,700 people were on hand on a beautiful sunny Saturday morning as 235 J.D. candidates, 38 LL.M. candidates, seven Masters of Patent Law candidates, and one S.J.D. candidate were awarded their degrees.

In his welcome remarks, Dean Garry W. Jenkins commended the students and the leadership skills they have developed and demonstrated in their time at Minnesota Law. He also expressed optimism at the difference they will make as graduates. “The world needs more of our special brand of lawyer-leaders,” he said.

Three faculty members were named as the 2022 recipients of the prestigious Stanley V. Kinyon Teacher of the Year Awards:

Dean Jenkins with student presenters and award winners
Dean Jenkins with the student award winners

Haillie Laws ’22 presented the Excellence in Public Services Award to classmates Jordan Hughes ‘ 22 and Ashley Meeder  ’22. Laws also presented the Most Outstanding Contribution Award to classmates Heather Chang ’22 and Katherine Chen ’22.

Tarun Sharma ’22 presented the class gift—a generous $14,246 contribution to the Law School’s general scholarship fund.

Assistant Dean Erin Keyes ’00 presented the William B. Lockhart Award for Excellence in Scholarship, Leadership, and Service to Rebecca Wilton ’22. Keyes also presented the Minnesota Law Equity & Diversity Award to Andrés Alejo  ‘22 and Yemaya Hanna ‘22.

Dean Jenkins with student speakers and presenters
Dean Jenkins with student speakers and presenters

The student addresses were delivered by:

  • Elizabeth Sullivan (Master’s in Patent Law address)
  • Morgane G.C. O’Connor (LL.M. address)
  • Schuyler Troy (J.D. address)

U.S. District Court Chief Judge John R. Tunheim ’80 gave the keynote address.

In his remarks, Chief Judge Tunheim traced his career from his early days as a 1L at Frasier Hall, to the move to the then-new "palatial" Mondale Hall, to a career in public service, to a fortuitous interaction with Sen. Paul Wellstone that helped pave the way to his appointment to the federal bench. He urged grads to be open to opportunity in their career paths and to make time for public service. 

"My message to you today is that you must take this time of your life, you must take this great gift of education, and you must take this spirit of this great University and give it back to your community and to your world," the chief judge told the students. "Let your diploma remind you not only of a special place, but of a special obligation, for it truly is, as Churchill once said, 'We make a living by what we get, but we make our life by what we give.'"

Following Chief Judge Tunheim's address, Regent David J. McMillan officially conferred the degrees.

The J.D. class was presented by Professors John Matheson and Maria Ponomarenko. Director, International and Graduate Programs Kara Galvin presented the LL.M. candidates.  Christopher M. Turoski '98 presented the Master of Patent Law candidates. Professor Robert Stein '61 presented the S.J.D. candidate.

At the end of the ceremony, members of TORT sang "Hail! Minnesota." The participating tort singers were:

  • Sarah Bauer '22
  • Leslie Bellwood '22
  • Alena Carl '22
  • Benjamin Cooper '22
  • Emily Curran '22
  • Joshua Hamel '22

The Stone Arch Brass performed the recessional.