St. Mary’s University School of Law held its 74th commencement ceremony on Saturday; Pennsylvania’s Attorney General and St. Mary’s alumnus Tom Corbett delivered the keynote address.
Corbett was awarded his juris doctorate from St. Mary’s in 1975. He has privately practiced law as well as served as U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania and filled several key roles in Gov. Tom Ridge’s administration before becoming the state’s 25th attorney general.
240 law students walked the stage including seven earning joint master’s degrees from the graduate school and 10 earning masters of law degrees.
During the ceremony, St. Mary’s honored retired U.S. Congressman Eligio “Kika” de la Garza with the Lifetime Achievement Award. De la Garza graduated from the law school in 1952 and went on to serve the Rio Grande Valley in the U.S. House of Representatives for 32 years, 14 of them as chair of the House Committee on Agriculture. He has also received the Republic of Mexico’s Order of the Aztec Eagle, the highest award given to a non-resident, and he was named the 1979 Distinguished Law Graduate for St. Mary’s.
The law school also presented two awards to those who have made exceptional contributions to the legal profession and education. Frank Höpfel, ad litem Judge of the International Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia and University of Vienna Professor of Law, received the Rosewood Gavel Award; the award will be presented to him in person during this summer’s Innbruck Institute. The St. Thomas More Award was presented to Kent D. Lollis, Executive Director for Diversity Initiatives at the Law School Admission Council.