Published: May 30, 2024

On Friday, May 10, 191 graduates from all around the world gathered with faculty, family, and dear friends for the 129th commencement ceremony honoring the Colorado Law class of 2024.  

Watch the full ceremony. 

After the procession concluded, Colorado Law Dean Lolita Buckner Inniss took the podium to recognize graduates and provide her opening remarks. Dean Inniss touched upon the theme of living at the intersection of courage and joy. She began with a quote by Maya Angelou, and followed with her own definition of the terms. 

dean inniss

Inniss then shared a story from her childhood, which concluded with the lesson that courage and joy don’t have to be performed in front of others to have meaning and value—and that Colorado Law graduates should live a life of courage and joy as they choose.  

Dean Inniss concluded her remarks with a land acknowledgement, then welcomed Jayson Highwalking to the stage to perform a powerful honor song. 

Jayson Highwalking

This was followed by welcoming remarks in Spanish given by Prof. Violeta Chapin.  

violeta

Next, Prof. Blake 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, David Stark ’73. Reid shared, “We could not be prouder of each of you for overcoming the numerous challenges you have faced to be here today, and for the high level of resilient growth that you have shown over your time here at Colorado Law.” 

Blake

David Stark ’73 expressed his gratitude for receiving the Honorary Order of the Coif and thanked his family, law firm, and the Law Alumni Board. Stark shared a brief story about his life-changing mentor in the legal profession and advised students, “Find a mentor – one that you respect and trust, and one that respects and trusts you.”   

Class President Stephanie Reifenberg took the podium next, sharing with her classmates, “This moment is a celebration of all the achievements – as well as many others, that have brought us here today.” 

Reifenberg reflected on beginning law school during the pandemic and how much has changed since the devastation of the global public health crisis. She shared: “Take a moment to celebrate your perseverance in the face of those challenges- you have earned this moment—soak  it in.” 

Stephanie Reifenberg

The program continued with Class Treasurer Justin Maloney presenting the class gift, which will go towards improving technology for future law school students. Additionally, the class of 2024’s Andrew Clark will be donating some of his art to the law school. Then Class Secretary Brittney Beetcher presented faculty and student awards.  

Justin MaloneyBrittney

Class Vice President Anita Klaezer introduced keynote speaker John Echohawk (Pawnee), Executive Director and founder of the Native American Rights Fund

Echohawk shared his journey in the legal field, from growing up in New Mexico and being encouraged to attend law school, to working in Federal American Indian Law and founding the Native American Rights Fund. Echohawk also detailed the impact Colorado Law has had on tribal land management, and other critical areas of Native American Law. He concluded, “When I started law school, I didn't know what I wanted to do with a law degree, I just wanted to be a lawyer. I developed that interest --that passion--pretty quickly, and I hope you all do as well.  If you haven't found that passion yet, keep looking. Go change the world.”  

John echohawk

Assistant Dean of Student Services Emily Horowitz announced the hooding of the graduates, and each of the students triumphantly walked across the stage.  Law Alumni Board Chair Caitlin McHugh ’12 then 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. Then everyone headed back to the Wolf Law Building to celebrate at the reception.  

students graduates hugging