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Elon Law graduates challenged to 'be fearless'

Students in the Class of May 2017 received their degrees in an Alumni Gym ceremony highlighted by remarks from Robert J. Grey Jr., a former president of the American Bar Association who implored the group to "guard against injustice." 

Robert J. Grey Jr. 
Elon Law President Leo M. Lambert with Danielle Prongay '14 L'17
Attorneys often demonstrate great courage under great criticism, and as a former president of the American Bar Association implored Elon University School of Law's newest graduates, it is imperative to "stand up for what is right and do not compromise on integrity."

Criticism, said Robert J. Grey Jr., is "what comes with the territory."

The Class of May 2017 received their degrees on May 20, 2017, in an evening Commencement ceremony inside Alumni Gym on Elon University's main campus. With hundreds of family and friends filling the arena, graduates celebrated a successful end to their three years of law school.

By delivering the Commencement address, Grey, retired senior counsel at Hunton & Williams in Virginia, was "closing the circle" on the students' education. He had previously visited campus in August 2014 to deliver a Convocation address to the same class just days after beginning their studies.

The accomplished attorney reminded graduates that lawyers possess a unique responsibility and their "reputation is gold."

“You are responsible for being a role model, not just for those behind you, but everyone around you," he said. "Everyone that you see. Everyone that you meet. You have to speak truth. You have to be honest. And you have to have integrity, because you took an oath. These are important parts of your reputation.”

Grey explained the importance of the services attorneys perform in their communities.

“We all bring value to society, and lawyers must be on the forefront of making sure that all rights, all privileges, are protected," he said. "That is your job. To guard against injustice.”

Introduced to the ceremony by Elon Law Dean Luke Bierman, Grey focused his practice on regulatory, administrative and government-relations matters before state and local governments and their agencies. He was the first African American to be an officer of the American Bar Association when he served as chair of the association’s House of Delegates. Grey was then elected president of the ABA in 2004, only the second African American to do so in the history of the organization.

Grey serves today as president of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity where he works with general counsel from major companies and managing partners from leading law firms to help advance the nonprofit organization’s mission of increasing diversity within the legal profession.

In 2009, President Barack Obama nominated Grey to the Legal Services Corporation Board of Directors, the nation's largest provider of civil legal assistance to the poor. He continues in that role today. And for his work, Grey received the American Bar Association Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity’s Spirit of Excellence Award.

The Commencement program featured welcoming remarks by Ryan Irving Glaser, president of the Student Bar Association for 2016-16, and Ragan Hope Riddle, elected by her peers to deliver a student address. Riddle also was recognized during the ceremony as recipient of the 2016 David Gergen Award for Leadership and Professionalism.

“Use your words wisely. Take them seriously. Remember the impact they can have,” Riddle advised her classmates. “Find mentors who inspire you and speak wisdom into your life. And never stop surrounding yourself with people of different beliefs and backgrounds, because those are the people who truly make you better.

“And always persevere, push forward, and give it your all. Our perseverance sets us apart. It already has. And it will continue to help us use our position to better the lives of everyone we meet.”


In his charge to graduates to conclude the program, Elon University President Leo M. Lambert tasked the class to use their knowledge for justice, their intelligence in the pursuit of goodness, and their keen minds for seeking truth. He asked graduates to remain connected with their law school alma mater.

Ryan Irving Glaser L'17, president of the Elon Law Student Bar Association 2016-17
Ragan Hope Riddle L'17
"I look forward to a close relationship with you in the years ahead as you, among its earliest alumni, continue to guide this young law school," Lambert said. "Elon Law will become a better institution by the active participation of alumni in determining her destiny." 

2017 Elon University School of Law graduates

Jackson Allan Barnes
B.A., The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Brenton Shane Begley
B.A., The University of Texas at San Antonio

Jeffrey L. Bloomfield
B.A., Purdue University

Leah Suzanne Britt
B.S., Campbell University

Thaibao Bui
B.A., Pennsylvania State University

James Robert Capps
B.A., Campbell University

Tevin Maurice Carr
B.A., Catawba College

Joshua Ryan Carter
B.M., Liberty University

Kelsey Mattison Chilton
B.A., West Liberty University

Tyler Ethan Cloud
B.A., Hampden-Sydney College

Nathaniel H. Cook
B.S., Appalachian State University

Tieranny L. Cutler
B.S., The University of North Carolina at Wilmington

Tyler J. Davis
B.A., The University of North Carolina at Wilmington

Avery Michelle Dice
B.A., University of Mary Washington

Sharon Elizabeth Dunmore
B.S., Guilford College

Olutola Familoni
B.A., The University of Massachusetts at Boston

Robert Anthony Farias
B.A., Central Washington University

Annette Huffman Faw
B.S., Argosy University

Alex Fisher
B.A., The University of South Carolina

Jenifer Leigh Galloway
B.A., Clemson University

Gabrielle Page Gelbert
B.A., American University

Alexandra Noelle Giordanella
A.B., Elon University

Ryan Irving Glaser
B.S., College of Charleston

Kristin DeAnna Golden
B.A., Hampton University

Carey Graham
B.A., The University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Alexandria Elizabeth Hall
B.S., Mount St. Mary’s University

Jonathan Lee Hamilton
B.A., University of Virginia

Nathaniel Ramsey Hamilton IV
B.S., Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Leah Bradshaw Hampton
B.A., Norfolk State University

Daphne Rose Hankins
B.A., Guilford College

Ashley Nicole Hartman
B.A., The University of North Carolina at Wilmington

Caroline Ashley Highland
B.A., Longwood University

Landon R. Hodges
B.A., Wake Forest University

Mallory Jordan Holmes
B.A., The University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Jonathan Michael Holt
B.S., East Carolina University

Laura Ann Janke
B.S., Appalachian State University

Chelsea Dawn Jarvis
B.S., West Virginia University

Michael Douglas Justice
B.A., Campbell University

Wade Robert Kaido
B.A., Ashland University

Todd Philip Kendrick
B.A., Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Emily Plante Kingston
A.B., Elon University

Jennifer Renee LaBeau
B.S., Grand Valley State University

Elizabeth Fowlkes Lawson
BSBA, Appalachian State University

Justin Tyler Long
B.A., The University of Alabama

Destiny Marie Lowder
B.A., Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Zachary Thomas Luffman
B.S., Appalachian State University

Kathleen Elizabeth Lynch
B.A., City University of New York John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Eric Zachary Maly
B.A., The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Christian Blair McCullen
B.A., North Carolina State University

Paige Nicole McElravy
B.A., The University of South Carolina at Columbia

Sean McLeod
B.A., Wake Forest University

Joseph Anthony McManus
B.A., Guilford College

Russell Andrew Michalec
B.A., Catawba College

Kayla Louise Mohr
B.A., Lynchburg College

Timberley Faith Motsinger
B.A., Catawba College

Merima Mustafic
B.A., The University of Chicago

Robert DeHart Northington
B.A., Brevard College

Talia Jade Nowicki
B.S., Longwood University

Jennifer Lynn Podelco
B.S., The Ohio State University

Samuel Sutherland Price
B.A., North Carolina State University

Danielle Morgan Prongay
A.B., Elon University

Jason Buran Pruett
B.S., Western Carolina University

Hailey Nichole Reall
B.S., The University of North Carolina at Wilmington

Ragan Hope Riddle
B.S., Wingate University

Adam Kristian Roberts
B.A., Newberry College

Joy Danielle Saunders
B.A., Winston-Salem State University

Tara Ann Scanlon
B.A., James Madison University

Mollie McLauchlin Schrull
B.S., Meredith College

Abigail Comfort Seymour
B.F.A., New York University

Danielle J. Sherwin
B.A., Portland State University

William James Sivyer, Jr.
B.A., Tusculum College

Kelci Nicole Smith
B.S., Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Meghan Ruth Smith
B.A., University of Mississippi

Vondella K. Smith
B.S., East Carolina University

Brittany D. Spencer
B.A., Winston-Salem State University

Christopher Albert Stella
B.A., The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Melissa Emily Stoll
B.A., The State University of New York at Buffalo

Elisabeth Whitten Stone
B.A., Salem College

Stephanie A. Stradling
B.S., Rutgers University

Ashley Taylor
B.A., Aurora University

Katherine Ann Torrance
B.A., Montreat College

Robert C. Trimble
B.S., North Carolina State University

Caitlin Sandy Truelove
B.A., East Carolina University

Paige Elaine Vankooten
B.B.A., Austin Peay State University

Ebony N. Vincent
B.A., Clark Atlanta University

Kelly Walker
B.S., Radford University

Spencer David Warren
B.S., The University of North Carolina at Wilmington

Candace Melanie Washington
B.A., Campbell University

Marion Jesse Williams
B.A., East Carolina University

Brian Austin Wooten
B.A., The University of North Carolina at Greensboro



Eric Townsend,
5/20/2017 9:40 PM