MORGANTOWN – The West Virginia University College of Law awarded 119 degrees on May 18 at its Hooding and Commencement Ceremony.

The keynote speaker for the ceremony, held in the WVU Creative Arts Center was Professor of the Year as voted by the class of 2013, was Robert Bastress, according to the WVU College of Law website.

“It’s okay to care,” Bastress told the class.

“Law is a helping profession. We don’t all have the wherewithal of a Kennedy or the chance to lead movements, but we do get to serve and to demonstrate that we care – whether we are serving a client, the public, a constituency, an ideal, or some other noble purpose.”

Bastress ran for a spot on the state Supreme Court in 2008 and received his law degree from Vanderbilt University in 1974.

Class president Jonathan Storage congratulated his fellow students and said, “During our first year, our forward-thinking Dean broke ground on a great undertaking to expand and modernize our school,” the site says.

“Like our school’s physical transformation, we, too, have undergone a deep and fundamental transformation – one that has prepared us for our futures.”

The college’s highest honor, the Justitia Officium Award, was presented to attorneys Susan Brewer and Lloyd Jackson by Joyce McConnell, the William J. Maier, Jr. Dean and Thomas R. Goodwin Professor of Law. The award was established in 1978 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the College of Law.

Brewer has been Chief Executive Officer of the Steptoe & Johnson - an international law firm with offices in Bridgeport, Charleston, Huntington, Morgantown, Wheeling and Martinsburg - since 2009.

She also serves on the Board of Directors of the West Virginia University Foundation and is a member of the West Virginia Roundtable.

A former state senator, Jackson is a fellow of the West Virginia Bar Foundation. He serves on the West Virginia Board of Education as a Trustee for the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation and has helped lead his family’s natural gas production company for the past 20 years.

A 1982 College of Law graduate, Andrew Richardson, who is now Senior Vice President of Wells Fargo Disability Management in Charleston, told the graduates that they are part of a legacy of achievement dating back almost 150 years, the site says.

“Over that time, WVU graduates have succeeded in almost every field of human endeavor,” Richardson said. “WVU has given you the tools to succeed, but you must each find your own path to success.”

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