Professor Melissa Essary to Address Baylor Law Graduates April 29

April 25, 2006

by Alan Hunt, (254) 710-6271

Sixty-seven graduates of Baylor University School of Law are scheduled to receive juris doctor degrees during commencement ceremonies at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 29, in Jones Concert Hall at the Glennis McCrary Music Building on the Baylor campus.

The keynote speaker, who was selected by the graduating class to deliver the commencement address, will be Professor Melissa A. Essary, a 16-year Baylor law faculty member who has been named the new dean of the School of Law at Campbell University, a leading Baptist university in North Carolina, effective July 1, 2006.

A 1985 Baylor Law School graduate, Essary is married to Larry Essary, a 15-year Baylor employee and director of the Casey Computer Center in the Hankamer School of Business. They have two daughters, Amber, 14, and Rachel, 8.

Prior to joining the Baylor law faculty, Essary served as a trial lawyer with the international law firm of Vinson and Elkins, where she litigated complex commercial cases. She is actively involved in the profession through her service as a mediator in a variety of employment cases.

In 2001, Baylor honored Essary with the Outstanding Tenured Teacher Award, and in 1997, the Texas Bar Foundation awarded her the Outstanding Law Journal Article Award for a series of articles entitled "Privacy in the Workplace." Essary teaches Employment Discrimination Law and Torts Law. She received her undergraduate degree with highest honors from the University of Texas in 1982, and later graduated magna cum laude from Baylor Law School, where she served as executive editor of the Baylor Law Review.

Diplomas will be presented during the graduation program by Baylor University President John M. Lilley and Law Dean Brad Toben, The Gov. Bill and Vara Faye Daniel Professor of Law, assisted by Leah W. Jackson, professor of law and associate dean.

Dr. J. Randall O'Brien, executive vice president and provost, will give the invocation and Professor Gerald R. Powell, The Abner V. McCall Professor of Evidence, and Adjunct Professor Steve McConnico will hood the graduates. After the ceremony, a reception for the graduates and their guests will be hosted by the Baylor Law Alumni Association at the Sheila and Walter Umphrey Law Center.

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