Graduation ceremony relocated to First Baptist Church of St. Petersburg due to rain

Contact Frank Klim
Executive Director of Communications

Gulfport, Fla. – Court TV news anchor Jack Ford will be the commencement speaker at Stetson University College of Law graduation ceremonies on Saturday, Dec. 17 at 2:30 p.m. at First Baptist Church of St. Petersburg, 1900 Gandy Blvd.

  • Directions to First Baptist Church of St. Petersburg: From Gulfport, take Interstate 275 North to Exit 28 (Gandy Blvd./Pinellas Park). Turn right onto Gandy Blvd., and the church will be on your right. 
  • The pre-ceremony reception for Mr. Ford still will occur at 12:15 p.m. on the Gulfport campus. Those assisting with this event should arrive as originally scheduled. 
  • The ceremony will begin at 2:30 p.m. Graduates should report to First Baptist Church of St. Petersburg by 1:15 p.m. Signs will be posted to guide you to the correct place. Unless otherwise directed, staff assisting with this event should report to First Baptist Church of St. Petersburg at the same time they were originally scheduled to report to Gulfport. 
  • The graduation reception will take place at the Gulfport campus in the Mann Lounge and Great Hall. The reception will begin about 30 minutes after the ceremony ends. 
  • The Internet Webcast has been cancelled.


Ford co-hosts Court TV’s daily program Trial Heat. Ford began his television news career in 1984 as the legal commentator for WCBS-TV in New York. Before television journalism, Ford graduated from law school, and spent three years as a prosecutor in New Jersey before entering into private practice. He was an adjunct professor of law at the Fordham Law School and reporter at Court TV.

More than 100 students are expected to walk at Stetson Law’s commencement in December. This year, Stetson Law’s first group of 14 part-time students will graduate.

Three students will receive a Master of Laws degree in international law and business and 16 students will graduate with a combined degree in law and business administration.

Here are a few of the unique stories of this graduating class:

  • Patricia Calhoun balanced family responsibilities, a full time job as a nurse and law school. Calhoun recently won the best overall advocate in the prestigious 15th Annual Cathy Bennett National Criminal Trial Competition this month. 
  • Bill Wildhack, an editor of the Stetson Law Review, has served as Presbyterian pastor, hospital chaplain and active duty and reserve Navy chaplain. He interned in 2004 at the U.S. Dept. of Justice in Washington, D.C., in the Housing and Civil Enforcement Section of the Civil Rights Division and in 2005 at the Florida Supreme Court. 
  • Joann Palchak, a former Oracle engineer, is one of handful of students to present a paper before legal scholars at the American Society of International Law conference. Her research on genocide has gained international acclaim. 
  • Tom Yaegers, JD/MBA student and teaching fellow, helped win this year’s international moot court competition in Vienna, Austria. Teams from 150 law schools in 47 countries competed at the international championship.

Editor’s note: Court TV news anchor Jack Ford is available for media interviews at 1 p.m., prior to graduation. Please call Frank Klim to schedule an interview at 727-562-7889.