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School of Law Honors Graduates at 2024 Commencement Ceremony The Washington and Lee University School of Law celebrated its 169th commencement on Friday, May 10, awarding 141 juris doctor degrees.

LawGrad2024_01-scaled School of Law Honors Graduates at 2024 Commencement CeremonyLaw Class of 2024

The Washington and Lee University School of Law celebrated its 169th commencement on Friday, May 10, awarding 141 juris doctor degrees.

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W&L President Will Dudley greeted the graduates and their families gathered on the front lawn between the University Chapel and the Colonnade, evoking memories of the time the graduates have spent together building a remarkable community at one of the nation’s most unique law schools.

“You have spent three years together in this beautiful place. It has shaped you, as individuals and as a class. Together you have studied, argued, and developed the habits of mind that characterize good lawyers. You have made lasting friendships that will give you pleasure and support wherever you go.

“Before you set out upon your different paths, I want you to savor your final moments together this morning, on this historic campus that has been your shared home,” said Dudley.

Melanie D. Wilson, Dean of the Law School, followed President Dudley to the podium. Dean Wilson praised the class for its intellect, grit, and compassion, remarking on their law school journey that began during the thick of COVID. She also recounted by name many of the students and accomplishments that she would remember from her second year leading the school.

During her remarks, Dean Wilson turned to advice shared by Kara Lawson, Women’s Basketball coach at Duke University, who encourages her team to strive to “handle hard better” rather than simply waiting for life to get easy.

“You arrived to W&L Law with the smarts and the aptitude,” said Wilson. “Now you have the skills and education. You are ready to handle hard better. You are ready to overcome any adversity thrown at you. You are ready to represent clients at some of the most vulnerable times of their lives.”

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After the graduates were awarded their degrees, Dean Wilson introduced Utah Governor Spencer Cox as this year’s commencement speaker. A 2001 graduate of W&L Law, Cox was elected governor in 2020, having previously served as Lieutenant Governor and as a member of the Utah House of Representatives. In 2023, he was elected to lead the National Governors Association.

During his remarks, Governor Cox urged the graduates to pursue a life focused on others, to engage with their communities through service, and to spend time with those who are different.

“Today, my friends, is all about you. And it should be all about you. You have worked so hard for these three years. But I sincerely hope that this is the last day that’s all about you.

“As you look behind you, there are all these people in your life that made this possible. You did this, but you did not do it alone. I hope that you will turn around and do the same favor for other people.”

Following Cox’s remarks, third-year class officers Bianca Volpicelli and Maeve Harris presented Gov. Cox with a walking stick, traditionally given to students at the awards ceremony preceding graduation. The walking stick, or cane, originated in the 1920s 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.

Graduation festivities began Thursday with the annual awards ceremony, which was held in Holekamp Gym. Five students graduated summa cum laude, 17 graduated magna cum laude, and 20 graduated cum laude. Fourteen 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.

The Student Bar Association Teacher of the Year and Staff Member of the Year award were also presented at the awards ceremony. Professor Kish Parella was named Teacher of the Year, and Susan LeMert, law student affairs program coordinator, won the staff award.

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

Madelyn Kay Bellew – John W. Davis Prize for Law (highest cumulative grade point average)

Olivia Maier– American Bankruptcy Institute Medal (excellence in study of bankruptcy law)

Christian Addams Kelling & Samuel Gary Gustafson – Roy L. Steinheimer Jr. Commercial Law Award (excellence in Commercial Law)

Courtney Ebersohl – Virginia Trial Lawyers Association Award (effective trial advocacy)

Haley Lauren Carter – A. H. McLeod-Ross Malone Oral Advocacy Award (distinction in oral advocacy)

Amir A. Soleimanpour & Kaitlyn Hyun – Frederic L. Kirgis Jr. International Law Award (excellence in international law)

Catalina Victoria Perez Parra – Virginia Bar Family Law Section Award (excellence in the area of family law)

Tom Boss– Barry Sullivan Constitutional Law Award (excellence in constitutional law)

Taryn E. Washburn – James W. H. Stewart Tax Law Award (excellence in tax law)

Andrew Christian Morales & Madelyn Kay Bellew – Thomas Carl Damewood Evidence Award (excellence in the area of evidence)

Courtney Ebersohl – Criminal Law Award (excellence in courses of criminal law)

Samuel Gary Gustafson & Olivia Maier – Business Law Award (excellence in courses of business law)

Adam Thomas Cline & Olivia Allison Luzzio – Administrative Law Award (excellence in courses of administrative law)

Chloe Madison Dupre & Jo Won Shin – Clinical Legal Education Association Award (outstanding clinic student)

Morgan S. Brody – Clinical Legal Education Association Outstanding Externship Award (outstanding externship student)

Andreya M. Steidl – Charles V. Laughlin Award (outstanding contribution to moot court program)

Rachel Marie Silver & Colleen A. Karlovich – The Washington and Lee School of Law Women’s Law Award (outstanding contribution to women in the law)

Lucie Hunter Fisher – Calhoun Bond University Service Award (significant contribution to the University community)

Dominique Claire Cravins & Jasmine Nicole Cooper – Randall P. Bezanson Award (outstanding contribution to diversity in the life of the Law School community)

Summa Cum Laude

  • Madelyn Kay Bellew
  • Tom Boss
  • Teressa Elizabeth Colhoun
  • Mariya V. Denisenko
  • Christian Sánchez Leon

Magna Cum Laude

  • Everette Garrett Allen Iv
  • Cassandra L. Baddorf
  • Wellington George Baumann
  • Theodore S. Boone
  • Laura Elizabeth Carrier
  • Haley Lauren Carter
  • Michael Cole Davidson
  • Samuel Gary Gustafson
  • Maxwell Mark Hanamirian
  • Christian Addams Kelling
  • Anna Lynn Kennedy
  • Meredith Hoile Lerner
  • Aidan T. O’Connor
  • Fenja Rosa Schick-Malone
  • Audrey Elizabeth Van Winkle
  • Taryn E. Washburn
  • Andrew James Willis

Cum Laude

  • Morgan S. Brody
  • David Michael Clark Jr.
  • Adam Thomas Cline
  • Michaela Jane Crow
  • Courtney Ebersohl
  • Lucie Hunter Fisher
  • Haley Elizabeth Fortner
  • Kathryn Marie Heller
  • Kaitlyn Hyun
  • Daniel Joseph Jacobi
  • Colleen A. Karlovich
  • Scott Koven
  • Eun Sol Lee
  • Olivia Allison Luzzio
  • Olivia Maier
  • Connor Mccarthy
  • Barbara Ann Merryman
  • Grace Oneida Moore
  • Daniel J. Theyn
  • Elizabeth Graves Underwood

Order of the Coif

  • Wellington George Baumann
  • Madelyn Kay Bellew
  • Tom Boss
  • Laura Elizabeth Carrier
  • Teressa Elizabeth Colhoun
  • Mariya V. Denisenko
  • Maxwell Mark Hanamirian
  • Christian Addams Kelling
  • Meredith Hoile Lerner
  • Aidan T. O’Connor
  • Christian Sánchez Leon
  • Fenja Rosa Schick-Malone
  • Taryn E. Washburn
  • Andrew James Willis