Gideon lawyer, longtime Stetson Law faculty member and former dean Bruce Jacob J.D. ’59 presents May 18 commencement address

Dean Emeritus and Professor of Law Emeritus Bruce Jacob.
Dean Emeritus and Professor of Law Emeritus Bruce Jacob.

After graduating from Stetson University College of Law in 1959, Dean Emeritus and Professor of Law Emeritus Bruce Jacob made history with the 1963 landmark Supreme Court decision, Gideon v. Wainwright, the impetus for the idea of public defenders. Jacob presents the commencement address to 255 J.D. candidates at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 18, in the Plaza Mayor Courtyard at Stetson Law, 1401 61st St. S. in Gulfport.

After the Gideon decision, Jacob became one of the first volunteer public defenders in the state of Florida, dedicating more than five decades of his professional life to serving indigent clients and representing hundreds of defendants pro bono. He served as dean of Stetson University College of Law for 13 years and as a member of the faculty for more than two decades, before retiring last year.

A total of 255 J.D., 31 LL.M., 12 J.D./M.B.A., two J.D./LL.M. and one J.D./MIEBL candidates, and Stetson Law’s first M.J. candidate, will walk at commencement.

Outstanding members of the graduating class include:

Kathryn Bonti, a member of the Moot Court Board, Stetson Trial Team, Stetson Student Ambassador, Academic Success Fellow and 13th Judicial Circuit Guardian Ad Litem;

Matthew Ceriale, a member of the Dispute Resolution Board and Willem C. Vis team, Stetson Law Review, and recipient of the first Shumaker Diversity Scholarship from the Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick LLP law firm; and

Madeline Pendley, a member of the Trial Team and Stetson Law Review and Stetson Student Ambassador.