Lieutenant Commander Vincent R. Stewart spoke at Stetson Law commencement on May 19

Stetson Law's May 19 commencement.

Stetson Law’s May 19 commencement.

Lieutenant General Vincent R. Stewart

Lieutenant General Vincent R. Stewart

Lieutenant General Vincent R. Stewart, the Deputy Commander for U.S. Cyber Command, presented the commencement address in the Plaza Mayor Courtyard at Stetson University College of Law in Gulfport, Florida, on May 19.

Stewart told the story of coming to the U.S. at the age of 13. Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Stewart is a decorated Marine who received honors including the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, and the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal. Stewart previously served as the 20th director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, where he was promoted to Lieutenant General. He is the first African American, first Jamaican American and first Marine to hold the director post. He also served as head of the Marine Corps Forces Cyber Command.

“It truly is a beginning. Commencement is the next step,” Stewart told the more than 200 Stetson Law students gathered to hear him speak on Saturday morning in Gulfport. “We need everyone to participate in our democracy…We’re going to need great lawyers. We are counting on you.”

A total of 268 J.D. students walked at Stetson’s May 19 commencement, including four J.D./M.B.A. students, two J.D./LL.M. Advocacy students,  and 16 part-time J.D. students. Eighteen students are candidates for the LL.M. in International Law, 11 students are candidates for the LL.M. in Elder Law, and five students are candidates for the LL.M. in Advocacy degree. Visit the Graduation webpage for links to videos and photos.

Among this year’s outstanding graduating Stetson Law class are:

  • Taofikat Ninalowo, a J.D./M.B.A. student and member of Stetson’s Dispute Resolution Board who is originally from Nigeria;


  • Kevin Reali, a part-time J.D. student and former Navy officer who worked his way through law school as a sailing coach at Eckerd College while participating in Moot Court and the Stetson Law Review;


  • Vanessa Moore, a fellow with the Institute for Biodiversity Law and Policy who plans to join the Attorney General’s Honors Program, working in the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.;


  • Joseph Sise, a member of Stetson’s Trial Team and the team that won the Chester Bedell Trial Competition; and


  • Viviana Vasiu, editor-in-chief of the Stetson Law Review, originally from Romania, who has had several articles accepted for publication in top placements across the country.