Retired First Assistant Federal Public Defender for the District of Nebraska and 1980 law graduate, Shannon O’Connor, was the hooding ceremony speaker. O’Connor, who has tried numerous cases in federal court including one before the U.S. Supreme Court, also holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from USD.

Students honored were as follows:

Edward Hope Award: given to the student who has attained the highest academic standing in the graduating class: Kelly Maxwell, Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Gavel Award: given to the graduate deemed “outstanding student” by the faculty: Britni Summers, Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Mickelson Award: given to a student who has demonstrated excellence both inside and outside the classroom: Branden Nethken, Falcon, Colorado.

ALI-CLE Award: provided by the American Law Institute; given to the student who has been determined to best represent a combination of scholarship and leadership: Alayna Holmstrom, Rapid City, South Dakota.

Dean’s Leadership Award: given to the individual who exemplifies the ideals of service and leadership of the USD School of Law: Morgan Nelson, Norfolk, Nebraska.

Jackson Memorial Award for Outstanding Professor of Law: Associate Professor Tom Simmons.

The School of Law also recognized 15 students with the Access to Justice Pro Bono Award for completing more than 50 hours of pro bono legal services.

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