Baylor Law School's Graduation 'Plan B' Stays on the Back Burner

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    Professor David Guinn, left, and Professor Jim Wren, right, hood graduate Diana Brooke Cockrell during the ceremony.
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    Graduate Alexis Carolyn Young of Southlake, Texas, prepares for the ceremony.
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    Graduates make their way to the commencement ceremony in Jones Concert Hall.
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    Rep. Chet Edwards
Aug. 1, 2006

A late House discussion and floor vote in Washington, D.C. threatened to disrupt Baylor Law School's graduation plans for Saturday morning. The keynote address was due to be delivered by Rep. Chet Edwards. Just in case, Professor Jerry Powell was standing by, ready to make the keynote speech if the congressman could not get back to Waco in time.

But Powell's services were not required. Catching an early flight from the capital, Rep. Edwards made it to the commencement ceremony in timely fashion. The audience gave him and his wife, Lea Ann (a 1984 Baylor graduate), a warm reception at the Jones Concert Hall on the Baylor campus.

Dean Brad Toben, thanking Professor Powell for his willingness to stand in, noted that he must surely "be loved by all" since he had received "a standing ovation from the audience for something you didn't do." Powell, who serves as the Abner V. McCall Professor of Evidence and Master Teacher, directs Baylor Law School's nationally acclaimed Practice Court program.

In their remarks during the program, both Edwards and Baylor President John M. Lilley pointed out to the 47 graduates that they were joining the ranks of Baylor attorneys with a great tradition of public service and contributions to the communities in which they live and work. "Being a Baylor lawyer means that you have a great sense of your moral and ethical obligations and the importance of serving," Lilley told them. "My colleagues and I will be watching you with interest."

Edwards also praised the great legacy of public service and volunteerism achieved by graduates of Baylor Law School over the years, and he referred to the dedication of the late Leon Jaworski, a 1925 Baylor law graduate, who served as the Watergate Special Prosecutor during the 1970s. Edwards reminded the graduates of a famous quotation by Sir Winston Churchill, "We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give."

Diplomas were presented to the graduates by Lilley, assisted by Edwards and Dean Toben, and the graduates were hooded by David M. Guinn, The Louise L. Morrison Professor of Constitutional Law and Master Teacher, and Professor Jim Wren. The invocation was given by Professor Mark W. Osler.

Chet Fielding Garner, the highest ranking student in the commencement class, presented "Student Remarks," which is to be a regular feature of the Baylor Law School's graduation program.

After the ceremony, a reception for the graduates and their guests was hosted by the Baylor Law Alumni Association in the Sheila and Walter Umphrey Law Center.

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