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Stetson Law graduates record number of students May 12 in Gulfport


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Gulfport, Fla. – A record number of 252 Stetson University College of Law graduates walked in commencement ceremonies on May 12.

Twenty-two students graduated with a JD degree from the part-time class, nine students with master of laws degrees and 26 students with both an MBA and a JD degree.

William LaForge, who was a senior congressional policy advisor in Washington D.C. for 14 years, delivered the commencement address. LaForge is National President of the Federal Bar Association and chairman of its board of directors. He was chief counsel of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture and Chief of Staff to U.S. Senator Thad Cochran of Mississippi. LaForge received his LL.M. from Georgetown University in international and comparative law and has taught both in the U.S. and in Southern Europe.

Among this year’s outstanding law graduates are:

  • Matt Bachman, recognized by Gulfport City Council for helping to draft the City of Gulfport’s policies and procedures for implementing a new Human Rights Ordinance.
  • Vanessa DeRosa, former HBA president who recently organized a panel at the law school to address immigration reform.
  • Genevieve Whitaker, who became Florida Legislative Coordinator of Amnesty International in July of last year, and introduced the first Stetson chapter on campus.