On Friday, May 12, 197 graduates from all around the world gathered with faculty, family, and dear friends for the Colorado Law 2023 graduation recognition ceremony at Macky Auditorium.
Watch the full ceremony here.
Dean Lolita Buckner Inniss opened this year's graduation recognition ceremony with a warm and enthusiastic welcome to the Class of 2023 as well as the friends and family who supported them throughout their legal education. "I know that you all join me in feeling particular pride in these graduates, who came to Colorado Law in the fall of 2020 in the midst of the COVID crisis," she said, acknowledging the incredible resilience of this class. "This was back when the disease was relatively little understood and when illness and death stalked us still. Along the journey, this class also experienced local and national disasters, and yet—through it all—you persisted, Class of 2023," she addressed the class directly. "You persisted. You thrived. And you did so not only because of what you learned here, but because of the full life and experiences that you had before you got here."
She shared with the graduates a vital lesson learned in her childhood. Sometimes the paths we walk are winding, and we must rely on our own faculties, ingenuity, and flexibility to find our way. The dean concluded her remarks saying, "This law school education is not a starting point. It is your most recent achievement that bridges knowledge that you already have with what will be a lifetime of learning that comes after this. And so congratulations, graduates, I wish you good walking from here." The crowd erupted with sincere applause.
After Dean Inniss’ opening remarks, Doug Good Feather continued the Colorado Law tradition of performing a powerful Honor Song for the event's attentive audience. Professor Violeta Chapin then gave welcoming remarks in Spanish.
Professor Blake E. Reid '10 had the honor of both recognizing the top fifteen percent of the class as members of the Order of the Coif and presenting this year's recipient of the Honorary Order of the Coif, Judge Regina M. Rodriguez ’88. Professor Reid commented, "This ceremony is but a modest recognition of their [the graduates'] high level of dedication, resilience, and achievement and of the support they've received from their families and friends."
Judge Rodriguez '88 expressed that she was deeply honored by the recognition and inclusion in the day's events. "Congratulations to the Order of the Coif honorees! This is truly an accomplishment worthy of special recognition," she said. "Let me also congratulate all the graduates here," she continued, "I wish you could see what I see from up here. What it is, is the promise of our future."
View the event's program here.
The program continued with engaging remarks from Class President Alexander D. Clark. "This is likely the first and probably the last time that we will all be in the same place at the same time," reflected Clark. "So, with the time that I have, I'd like to take a moment to look back and reflect on the long and sometimes arduous journey that brought us here." Clark's fellow graduates expressed their appreciation for his words with laughter and applause.
Then Class Treasurer Ashlyn Laurel DuThorn presented student awards, and Class Secretary Tanner Boyzuick announced the faculty and staff awards. Class Vice President Stewart Ramsey then introduced this year's keynote speaker, Colorado's 39th Attorney General, and former dean of the law school, Phil Weiser.
Attorney General Weiser began his address by saying, "To the Class of 2023—Welcome to a great community of Colorado Law alums. Serving as a lawyer is a noble calling, and you all have this opportunity and obligation to make a positive impact on our world. I want to talk about three lessons that very much echo what Dean Inniss and Judge Rodriguez said. Giving yourself permission to try out a new path whether or not you're successful; to view your life as a series of experiments; and to embrace the power of mentors."
Attorney General Weiser concluded, "All of you have a promising path ahead, and, as we've all noted, it's going to be a winding road. And one of the obligations, as a lawyer, that you have is to serve and to think about our society." He continued, "This is not an easy time for our society. The rule of law and our institutions are facing challenges like never before. I believe that as you all do the work ahead of you, and you do it authentically and with concern for others, you will help repair our world."
Each of the graduates triumphantly walked across the stage, and Law Alumni Board Chair Michael Carrigan '94 welcomed them to Colorado Law's extraordinary alumni community. As the program drew to a close, Dean Inniss recited the traditional Sears Charge and the audience let loose a final wave of congratulatory applause. Soon everyone headed back to the Wolf Law Building to continue the celebration at the reception.
The graduates celebrated at the ceremony include 175 candidates for JD degrees, 11 MSL degrees, and 11 candidates for LLM degrees.
View photography from the ceremony and reception here.