St. Mary’s University School of Law will hold its 76th commencement ceremony on Saturday in the St. Mary’s University Alumni Athletics & Convocation Center’s Bill Greehey Arena. The Hon. David A. Ezra, District of Hawaii, United States District Court, is slated to deliver the keynote address.

Ezra, a native Hawaiian, earned his B.B.A. degree from St. Mary’s University and was the top graduate of St. Mary’s University School of Law’s Class of 1972. He served in the military and practiced privately concentrating in the area of financial services litigation for several years before his appointment to the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii in 1988. Upon his appointment, Ezra became the youngest federal judge in Hawaiian history and is now the state’s longest serving active federal judge.

He serves as vice president of the U.S. Federal Judges Association and is the only judge from Hawaii to be elected a member of the Judicial Conference of the United States. In 2007, Judge Ezra was awarded St. Mary’s Rosewood Gavel Award for his contributions to the adjudication of justice.

Saturday, St. Mary’s School of Law will award 236 Juris Doctor (J.D.) degrees and five Masters of Law (LL.M) degrees. Class of 2010 valedictorian is Shannon K. Dunn from San Antonio; she received her bachelor’s degree from Purdue University.

During the ceremony, St. Mary’s will honor noted local attorney Jack Paul Leon with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Leon graduated from St. Mary’s School of Law in 1959. A Korean War hero and prosecutor with the Bexar County District Attorney’s office, he went into private practice in 1962. His current firm is the Law Offices of Jack Paul Leon. Among his many professional affiliations, he is a charter member of both the Texas Trial Lawyers Association and the Texas Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Leon has served as vice-chairman of St. Mary’s University Board of Trustees, past president of the St. Mary’s Law Alumni Association and longtime member of St. Mary’s Law Alumni Association Board of Directors. St. Mary’s named him the Distinguished Law Graduate in 1986.

The law school also presents two awards to those who have made exceptional contributions to the legal profession and education. Wallace B. Jefferson, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Texas, will receive the Rosewood Gavel Award. The St. Thomas More Award will be presented to. Patricia S. Castillo, executive director of The P.E.A.C.E. Initiative.

The graduation ceremony begins at 1 p.m; doors open to the public at 11 a.m. Tickets are not needed to attend. You can watch the ceremony live online.

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