Southern Illinois University School of Law

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Dean's Blog

Commencement: Spring 2013

Judge Prost

May 17, 2013


This past Saturday, May 11, 2013, Southern Illinois University was pleased to celebrate the graduation of many of its students. Among the graduates were 114 students who received their JD and two students who received their LLM from the SIU School of Law. Eight law graduates received dual degrees: three JD/MBA; two JD/M Acc; two JD/MD; and one JD/MS ECE. Two students received MLS (Master of Legal Studies) degrees. The keynote speaker at the University’s commencement was Frank Abagnale, Jr., a security and fraud expert, whose life was portrayed in the movie Catch Me If You Can.

Following the University’s commencement ceremony, the School of Law hosted a luncheon for the graduates and their guests. This luncheon included several speakers; among those who spoke were graduate Joel Mitchell, Professor Trish McCubbin, The Honorable James Wexstten and myself. The graduating Class of 2013 picked Joel Mitchell from among their peers to be the student speaker. Likewise, Professor Trish McCubbin was selected by the Class of 2013 as the Outstanding Faculty Member. The Distinguished Alumni Speaker was the Honorable James Wexstten. Judge Wexssten is a graduate of the charter class of the School of Law and now serves on the Illinois 5th District Appellate Court. In his career, Judge Wexstten has also served in various positions in the Illinois Judges Association, Prevent Child Abuse Illinois, the Judicial Advisory Polls Committee, the Illinois State Bar Association and the Jefferson County Bar Association.

Along with these speakers, the School of Law recognized The Honorable Maria Lourdes Afiuni with the Faculty Rule of Law Citation. The Rule of Law Citation is presented to a legal professional who has stood firm in support of liberty and justice in the face of oppression and, by their words and actions, honor and support the Rule of Law even at great personal risk. Judge Maria Lourdes Afiuni is a Venezuelan judge who fought for justice while on the bench, taking actions which led to her wrongful arrest. Judge Afiuni is leading a life that exemplifies support of the Rule of the Law in the face of the breakdown of the rule of law in Venezuela.

We were very fortunate to have so many incredible speakers and honored guests to honor our graduates during the Commencement Ceremony and luncheon.

We are very proud of the accomplishments of the Class of 2013, and look forward to seeing their future successes in the legal profession.

*Correction:  The original post incorrectly noted that there were six graduates who received dual degrees and listed two JD/MBA and one JD/MD.  There were actually eight law graduates who received dual degrees including three JD/MBA and two JD/MD.