Though masks and social distancing offered a different experience than years before, Alabama Law hosted in-person Commencement at Coleman Coliseum on Sunday, May 2. Because last year’s event was moved to a virtual format, the Law School was delighted to invite members of the Class of 2020 to come back and celebrate their achievements with the Class of 2021.
This year, Alabama Law conferred degrees on 130 graduates—including 105 Juris Doctor (J.D) degrees. In addition, one student took the Doctor of Juridical Science Degree, two J.D. graduates took joint Master’s Degrees in Business Administration, and nine J.D. graduates took the Master of Laws Degree (LL.M.) in Taxation or Business Transactions. In addition, 12 graduates took an LL.M. in Taxation or Business Transactions, and one graduate took a Juris Masters in Taxation.
The Commencement Address was given by The Honorable John H. England, Jr., who is retired from the Tuscaloosa County Circuit Court and is a member of the Board of Trustees of The University of Alabama. Judge England is also a 1974 Alabama Law graduate and was a member of the first class of admitted African American students to the School of Law.
In his address, Judge England shared advice from his three children and niece—who are all Alabama Law Alumni—and he concluded by passing the torch of responsibility on to the next generation of legal professionals, “To the graduates, we expect you to lead us to be better than we are.” The crowd met his speech with a standing ovation as he left the stage.
In speaking to the graduates, Dean Mark E. Brandon congratulated them for their tremendous success during a particularly challenging time and shared the following:
“If I could wish anything for you, it would be not merely for success. It would be that you use your talents – and the adversity you have faced – to make a difference in the lives of others. There is no single path for doing so. But as you choose and pursue your path, I hope that you will make it one in which you can not only do well – but also do good.”
For anyone who was unable to attend the graduation ceremony, and especially for those who may have experienced technical issues with the streaming link, here is a video recording of the 2021 Alabama Law Commencement Ceremony.