Sen. Barbara Boxer addresses UCI Law grads

U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer speaks during UC Irvine's School of Law graduation ceremony on Saturday morning at Aldrich Park in Irvine.
(Kevin Chang, Daily Pilot)

A corner of UC Irvine’s Aldrich Park turned into a place of celebration as 114 students gathered for UCI Law’s fourth commencement ceremony on Saturday.

These students rejoiced in the completion of their law studies and each received their Degree of Juris Doctor at the commencement. This degree moves them one step closer to practicing law.

Sen. Barbara Boxer delivered the commencement address for UCI Law’s Class of 2015.

Boxer congratulated the Class of 2015 and commended UCI Law’s faculty for building their law school in less than a decade.

“It’s so special to have a United States senator to speak here and to hear her say such wonderful things about the law school,” UCI’s Dean of the School of Law Erwin Chemerinsky said.

Boxer has written laws to designate more than 1 million acres of California’s wilderness and wrote the California Missions Preservation Act to safeguard 21 historic missions in California.

After serving in the House of Representatives for 10 years, she became a U.S. senator in January 1993. Her current term in the Senate is her fourth and her last.

When Chemerinsky asked her to be this year’s UCI Law Commencement speaker, he said he was thrilled when she said yes.

Chemerinsky has seen the growth of each class at UCI Law since the school’s first commencement in 2012.

At last year’s commencement, he recalls 86 students who received their Juris Doctor degrees. He said he is proud to see the graduating class grow since last year.

For student Alex Patterson, the school’s class size was the reason he chose to study at UCI Law.

“This is a school where you’re not going to be just a number,” Patterson said. “This school tamps down the competitive culture and brings in this concept of working together. We’re all here to help the community.”

Patterson was elected by the class to be the commencement’s student speaker.

After the entire class walked in, students Kelly Galligan, Rachel Khalili and Elizabeth McCullough-Sanden delivered the class gift. The three presented a check of $40,000 for a Public Interest Fellowship to UCI Law’s Class of 2016.

This fund will financially support the following class so they may take on nonprofit jobs and legal work during the rest of their studies at UCI Law.