School of Law Honors Graduates at 2013 Commencement Ceremony

U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia is presented with a W&L law school walking stick by graduates Robert J. Caison, left, and James Bailey following Kaine's speech at law commencement.

U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia is presented with a W&L law school walking stick by graduates Robert J. Caison, left, and James Bailey following Kaine's speech at law commencement.

The Washington and Lee University School of Law celebrated its 158th commencement on Saturday, May 11, awarding 141 juris doctor degrees.

Graduation festivities began Friday afternoon on the Lewis Hall lawn with the annual awards ceremony and presentation of walking sticks. The John W. Davis Prize for Law, awarded to the graduate with the highest cumulative grade point average, was awarded to Alan James Wenger of Columbia, SC. Three students graduated summa cum laude, 22 graduated magna cum laude, and 19 graduated cum laude. 14 students were named to Order of the Coif, an honorary scholastic society that encourages excellence in legal education. A list of honors and awards appears below.

In addition to achievements in the classroom, the Class of 2013 distinguished itself with its pro bono service to the law and the community. In all, the class completed 11,817 hours of service during this academic year, and 46 students were recognized for completing 100 hours or more of service.

The Student Bar Association Teacher of the Year award was also presented at the awards ceremony. This year's recipient was Prof. J.D. King, who directs the Criminal Justice Clinic and teaches classes on evidence and criminal procedure.

The commencement ceremony began at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday with an opening invocation by James Thomas Bailey, president of the Law Class of 2013. After the official welcome from President Ken Ruscio and remarks from Dean Nora Demleitner, the candidates were awarded their degrees.

Tim Kaine, U.S. Senator and former Governor from Virginia, delivered this year's commencement address. In his remarks, Kaine said that while the newly graduated lawyers may not fully grasp it now, "one of the great things about having a law degree is the degree to which it puts you in position to be someone's hero."

Kaine related the story of Virginia Tech engineering professor Livlu Librescu, who was killed during the Virginia Tech shootings in April 2007. Librescu prevented the gunman from entering his classroom in Norris Hall while all but one of his students successfully escaped through a window.

Kaine described how Librescu, before he saved his classroom of students, had survived the Holocaust and was forbidden to work in Romania when he refused to join the Communist Party.

"I never knew Livlu Librescu personally," Kaine said. "But I can't help but think that because of the person he was, he decided what he wanted to be. And he decided he wanted to be a hero."

Read more about Kaine's address and hear audio of the speech.

After Kaine's address, third-year class officers Jim Bailey and Rob Caison presented Senator Kaine with his very own walking stick, traditionally given to students at the awards ceremony preceding graduation. The walking stick, or cane, originated in the 1920's as a way to distinguish third-year law students on campus. At that time, only two years of law school were required, and the walking stick served as a way to reward and honor those students who stayed for a third year.

Special honors at Friday's awards ceremony went to the following students:

  • Alan James Wenger was awarded the John W. Davis Prize for Law, given to the student with the highest cumulative grade point average.
  • Steven A. Nunes won the Academic Progress Award for the most satisfactory scholastic progress in the final year.
  • Alexander Michael Sugzda won the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association Award for effective trial advocacy.
  • Mary Margret Nerino won the Calhoun Bond University Service Award for significant contributions to the University community.
  • Kathryne Marie Gray and Scott M. Weingart shared in the Frederic L. Kirgis, Jr., International Law Award for excellence in international law.
  • Haley W. Schaefer won the National Association of Women Lawyers Award given to an outstanding woman law student.
  • Christopher Lee Edwards won the Charles V. Laughlin Award for outstanding contributions to the moot court program.
  • Monica Kay Tulchinsky won the Randall P. Bezanson Award for outstanding contributions to diversity in the life of the Law School community.
  • Sabrina Noelle Chester won the Virginia Bar Family Law Section Award for excellence in the area of family law.
  • Thomas Tillman McClendon in the American Bankruptcy Institute Medal for excellence in the study of bankruptcy law.
  • Alan James Wenger won the Barry Sullivan Constitutional Law Award for excellence in constitutional law.
  • Shane Matthew Vandenberg won the James W. H. Stewart Tax Law Award for excellence in tax law.
  • Gordon McLeod Jenkins won the Thomas Carl Damewood Evidence Award for excellence in the area of evidence.
  • Emerald Irene Berg won the A. H. McLeod-Ross Malone Advocacy Award for distinction in oral advocacy.
  • Amy Margaret Conant won the Student Bar Association President Award for services as the President of the Student Bar Association.
  • Alexander Michael Sugzda won the ALI-CLE Scholarship & Leadership Award for the student who best represents the combination of scholarship and leadership.

Summa Cum Laude

Paul Bennett IV
Alan James Wenger
Charles Anthony Wolfe IV

Magna Cum Laude

Daniel Owen Callaghan
Eric Daniel Chapman
Andrew John Cronauer
Kathryne Marie Gray
Claire Marie Hagan
Todd Michael Heffner
Joanna Louise Heiberg
Gordon McLeod Jenkins
Matthias John Kaseorg
Catherine MacMurphy Long
Lisa Alyn Markman
Kimberly M. Marston
Kristopher Richard McClellan
Thomas Tillman McClendon
Chloë Bell McDougal
Kelly Maureen McGuire
Anthony David Raucci
Brandt Haywood Stitzer
Alexander Michael Sugzda
Jeffrey Scott Thomas
Samuel Chase Vinson
Scott M. Weingart

Cum Laude

Joseph Donald Antel
Luther Ray Ashworth II
Brian Douglas Baird
David Richard Bean II
Emerald Irene Berg
Alana Vera Dagher
Douglas Lawrence Dua
Christopher Lee Edwards
Robert Barksdale Hamlett Jr.
Stephen Mackenzie Holland
Britt any M. Hornady
Kyle Russell Hosmer
Tyler James Kaido
Jacob Allen Lewis
Lauren Kimberly Neal
Katie Nicole Reese
Carney Nicole Simpson
Jessica Rae Unger
Shane Matthew Vandenberg

Order of the Coif

Paul Bennett IV
Daniel Owen Callaghan
Joanna Louise Heiberg
Matthias John Kaseorg
Kimberly M. Marston
Kristopher Richard McClellan
Chloë Bell McDougal
Kelly Maureen McGuire
Anthony David Raucci
Brandt Haywood Stitzer
Alexander Michael Sugzda
Scott M. Weingart
Alan James Wenger
Charles Anthony Wolfe IV

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