Dear Friends,

These past few weeks have been awe-inspiring, because of each and every one of you—our incredible students, faculty, staff-educators, alumni, and community partners.

On May 13th, in our beautiful Mission Santa Clara de Asís church, SCU hosted the swearing-in ceremony for our alumni and others who passed the February 2024 California Bar Exam. Congratulations to all bar takers and especially to our first-time takers who passed. Santa Clara Law’s first-time pass rate for the February 2024 California Bar Exam jumped 9%–and still climbing! Although we do not yet have the final results for all states’ bar exams, we do know so far that many of our graduates have passed the February 2024 Bar Exam in other states, including Illinois, Massachusetts, Nevada, New York, and Washington. We commend our graduates on this great achievement! 

I want to thank Devin Kinyon and the Office of Academic and Bar Success team and partners throughout the law school for hosting the ceremony and for providing our graduates with essential academic and support resources during their bar exam preparation. Their work continues this summer as our newest graduates prepare for the July bar exam.

If you had a chance to be on campus during the Commencement festivities, you likely witnessed some of the amazing events that celebrated our Class of 2024 graduates, including our graduates from the Black Law Students Association (BLSA), First-Generation Law Student Association, Center for Social Justice and Public Interest, International & LL.M. Graduation, and High Tech Law Institute. We are also eternally grateful to Judge Shelyna Brown J.D. ‘96 for delivering remarks at BLSA’s graduation; Mahlieli Bothi J.D. ‘24 for delivering remarks at the First-Gen graduation; and David Sloss for presenting the Wildman Award at the CSJ graduation.

On Friday, May 17th, we gathered together in the beautiful Mission Church, for our annual Law Commencement Liturgy. We are so grateful to Fr. John McGarry, S.J. for presiding over the occasion and to Fr. Robert Scholla, S.J. for delivering a moving homily that grounded all of our learning and service in the power of everlasting love. We are also grateful to our concelebrants and acolytes in the Santa Clara Jesuit community as well as our volunteers in the University’s Office of Mission & Ministry, SCU Liturgical Choir, and the School of Law for planning and putting together a remarkable, spirit-filled, and moving community gathering that was attended by over 450 guests–graduates and their families and friends.

Following the liturgy, we convened in the Mission Gardens to celebrate the achievements of a stellar group of students who have stood out as exemplars for their academic success as well as their involvement in law journals, student organizations, and service activities. Please join me in recognizing all of our student award recipients and thanking John Bates Jr. J.D. ‘74, for generously supporting and presenting the John B. Bates Jr. Dispute Resolution Award. I am grateful to Noelia McKeever for thoughtfully planning the commencement liturgy and student awards reception. 

The idyllic weekend culminated in Law Commencement 2024, held at the Leavey Event Center on Saturday, May 18th. The incomparable Vernā Myers was awarded the Honorary Doctor of Laws degree in recognition of her trailblazing diversity, equity, and inclusion work. In her commencement address, Vernā challenged the graduates to consider what legacy they wish to leave for future generations and reminded them of the role they play in building the “beloved community” envisioned by the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Justice Edward Panelli ‘53, J.D. ‘55, Hon. ‘86, our devoted Santa Clara Law alum who has left an indelible legacy of justice, graced us with his attendance at the First-Gen and CSJ graduation events as well as Law Commencement. In his moving impromptu remarks at the First-Gen graduation, Justice Panelli shared his own experience as a first-generation undergraduate and law student of Santa Clara University.

I want to thank everyone across the law school community and extended community for providing our graduates and their families with an unforgettable Commencement experience. For many of the attendees, Commencement week was their first encounter with our awesome campus and law school community. You all made me incredibly proud by your graciousness, generosity, and service to all those in attendance. I want to especially thank the incredible Law Student Services team for leading Commencement planning as well as the Dean’s administrative team, the Law Alumni Relations Office, the Law Financial Aid Office, the Office of Career Management (OCM), Law Tech, faculty volunteers, student volunteers, and Campus Safety and Parking for your tireless work in making this day one for the books. 

Throughout commencement week, you all rose to the occasion and filled the event rooms and spaces with your presence all in service of our wonderful and beloved graduates. Commencement day was no exception. I was overwhelmed with joy and gratitude that so many of you showed up to volunteer your time to lift up our students. Thanks to the following Commencement event volunteers for your tireless efforts leading up to and during the ceremony.

We thank our loyal and dedicated Alumni Ambassadors–Karla De La Torre B.S. ‘09, J.D. ‘14, Randy Reyes J.D. ‘12, and Parminder Sandhu J.D. ‘16–for welcoming our graduates into the Santa Clara Law alumni community (over 13,000 alumni) with the ceremonial Alumni Association pinning. We also thank our distinguished alumni and University leaders for supporting our graduates, including:

President Julie Sullivan

Hon. Franklin Bondonno J.D. ‘70

Stephanie Burns J.D. ‘95

Margarita Chavez Tatro ‘94, J.D. ‘97 

Dorian Daley J.D. ‘86

Landon Edmond J.D. ‘98

Hon. Micael Estremera ’02, J.D. ‘06

Hon. Ram Fletcher ‘01, J.D. ‘05

Andrew Kryder ‘74, J.D. ‘77

Hon. Pelayo A. Llamas Jr. J.D. ‘92

Hon. Kristen Lucena J.D. ‘93

Molly McDonald J.D. ‘95

Justice Edward Panelli ‘53, J.D. ‘55, Hon. ‘86

Judge Risë Pichon ‘73, J.D. ‘76, Hon. ‘20 

Deepa Rich J.D. ‘07

Fr. Robert Scholla S.J.

Hon. Stuart Scott J.D. ‘92

Hon. Jesus Valencia J.D. ‘82

Hon. Glenn Yabuno J.D. ‘83


As Faculty Member of the Year, Professor Brad Joondeph had the honor of leading the commencement processional and recessional. Professor Joondeph led the way with distinction and grace!

Once again, Professor Phil Jimenez graced us with his voice recording of each graduate’s name as they crossed the stage to receive their diploma.

Professor Lisa Kloppenberg (Former Acting President and Dean Emerita) hosted our distinguished alum, Trustee Emeritus, and Jurist in Residence, Justice Edward Panelli, who was greeted by our students and their families with a resounding ovation that filled the Leavey Center. 

What punctuated the occasion for our graduates was seeing Carmo Carreia, who skillfully and gracefully oversees the Sidebar Cafe in Charney Hall, and so many of their faculty and instructors show up for them. The teacher-student experience is among the most important aspects of their law school experience. Thank you to the following faculty for being present to honor our graduates at Commencement.

Vangie Abriel

Marshall Andstandig

David Ball

Anna Benvenue

Liza-Jane Capatos J.D. ‘08

Nick Emanuel J.D. ‘05

Mike Flynn

Dorothy Glancy

Jeff Hyman J.D. ‘94

Marina Hsieh

Caitlin Jachimowicz J.D. ‘10

Phil Jimenez

Brad Joondeph

Paige Kaneb

Jeff Kroeber

Devin Kinyon

Lisa Kloppenberg

Linsey Krolik J.D./MBA ‘00

Sandee Magliozzi 

Scott Maurer J.D. ‘95

Fiona McKenna

Deborah Moss-West J.D. ‘94

Laura Norris J.D. ‘97

Michelle Oberman

Tyler Ochoa


Dori Pina

Mary Procaccio-Flowers J.D. ‘12

Kelly Rodriguez

Britton Schwartz

Nick Serafin

David Sloss

Nima Sohi J.D. ‘04

Linda Starr

Sarah Tesconi

Libby Toub J.D. ‘05

Eric Wright

David Yosifon


To close out a remarkable event, Robert Boyd ‘86, J.D. ‘97, opened the recessional with his captivating bagpipe cover of ‘Scotland the Brave that resounded through the walls of the Leavey Center, and Bucky the Bronco brought more fanfare to the Commencement reception with his energetic Santa Clara welcome! Thank you to one and all who made this momentous occasion even greater than we all imagined.

You have brought to fruition the beloved community that is Santa Clara Law. We are not just a law school; we are a transformative learning community built on an ethic of loving kindness. I want to reaffirm the message that I delivered to our graduates: While so many in your position these days have turned toward division, denigration, and destruction, you have chosen instead to listen to each other and to lift each other up while you have climbed–in times of success and setback, of reward and regret, and of victory and vigil. It has not always been easy, but you have always chosen hope over fear. 

You have instilled every encounter at this great law school with tenderness and acts of loving kindness in the form of generous listening, perspective-taking, empathy, ethics, and respect that have formed the foundation from which to build a more hopeful, just, humane, and sustainable world. From the depths of my heart, I thank you!

With warm regards and tremendous gratitude,

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