Convocation: Celebrating and recognizing the class of 2024

May 10, 2024 | Alumni

by Lindsay Wilcox

Interior of Kingsbury Hall with graduates and their friends and families clapping during convocationCongratulations to the S.J. Quinney College of Law Class of 2024, who graduated Friday, May 10, at Kingsbury Hall. Celebrations continued at the S.J. Quinney of Law building later that morning and afternoon.

The class of 2024 includes 96 students earning a Juris Doctorate (JD), 34 earning a master’s of legal studies (MLS), and one earning a master’s of laws. JD students came from 30 different states and territories and also logged more than 1,500 hours total of pro bono service. Here are a few more quick facts about this year’s JD graduates:

  • 15% are first-generation college students
  • 49% speak a language other than English
  • 56% identify as female
  • 15% identify as a lower socioeconomic status

In her introduction speech, Dean Elizabeth Kronk Warner reminded students that Associate Dean Reyes Aguilar gave the class of 2024 the word crucial back in August 2021 and recalled the College of Law’s namesake, S.J. (Joe) Quinney, an important developer of Utah’s legal and business communities.

“Like S.J. Quinney, you have been crucial in so many ways—crucial to our College of Law community and the larger community. You have already made the world a better place and accomplished amazing things despite the tremendous obstacles you have faced,” Kronk Warner said. “You are truly outstanding.”

Here are a few more crucial accomplishments from the JD class of 2024:

  • Michael Meszaros was named the 2023 Student Veteran of the Year. He also volunteered at the veterans’ legal site at the Veterans’ Administration (VA), served on the Utah Law Review staff, and represented the College of Law at the 2023-24 National Moot Court Competition.
  • McKaela Dangerfield was awarded the 2024 Golden Rule fellowship and directed the Pro Bono Initiative’s family law site at the Kearns Public Library.
  • Audreauna Lowry was a co-director of the Pro Bono Initiative’s new legal site at the Utah State Correctional Facility.
  • Nicholas Sauer logged the most hours (334.5) of pro bono service through volunteering with the United States District Court and Wills for Heroes. He also competed on a National Moot Court team.
  • Andy Miller helped the most clients (more than 110) through the Pro Bono Initiative and competed on a National Moot Court team.
  • Layne Huff published “The Ninth Amendment: An Underutilized Protection for Reproductive Choice” in the Cleveland State Journal of Law and Health.
  • Alex McFarlin published “Religious Freedom (for most) Restoration Act: A Critical Review of the Ninth Circuit’s Analysis in Apache Stronghold” in the Utah Law Review and participated with a National Moot Court team.
  • Jesus Salazar coauthored the article “Shared Stewardship” with a faculty member, soon to be published by UC-Berkeley’s Ecology Quarterly. Salazar also received the first Arc to Justice fellowship.
  • Angela McGuire presented oral argument at the Utah Court of Appeals.
  • Arin Perkins started the first Black Law Day at the College of Law, where any prospective student can learn about law school and find resources to complete the application process.

Dean Aguilar also gave the MLS class of 2024 a word for the first time—springboard—and Dean Kronk Warner recognized these students’ impacts as well.

“Many are first-generation students leading the way for generations to come,” Kronk Warner said. “They also speak a wealth of languages, and several are U.S. military veterans. They are incredibly crucial to the future of Utah and beyond.”

Larry J. Echohawk, who graduated from the College of Law in 1973 and serves as special counsel and advisor to the governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general of Utah for Indian Affairs, delivered this year’s commencement address. He talked about his family’s history as a Pawnee Indian Nation and the Iroquois Confederacy’s concept of governance known as the Seventh Generation.

“Our responsibility is to leave behind us a world that is better than the one we live in today. Symbolically, they say, as we walk upon the earth we plant our feet carefully, because we see the faces of future generations looking up at us from beneath the earth. We must never forget them,” Echohawk said. “My hope is that you will all seize the opportunity to use the power of your education in law to do everything you can to make this a better world than the one we live in today.”

Read more about the class of 2024’s achievements below:

  • Carter Moore, Grace Sponaugle, Madelynn Woolf, Olivia McQuarrie, Abby Leeser, Anthony Tenney, and Evangelina Marquez served on the Student Bar Association.
  • Daniel Delnap, Jefferson Jensen, Alexander Blankers, Dallin Trip, Adam Hansel, Camille McBride, Jessie Weeks, Charidan Maltby, Donovan Jones, Jonathan Shapiro, Abby Leeser, Anjana Kanth, McKenzie Ross, Esther Herbers, Chelsea Smith, and Anna Hall started new student groups.
  • Alex McFarlin, Anthony Tenney, Michael Mezaros, Jesus Salazar, Justin Eckman, and Jasmine Harouny competed in the National Moot Court Competition, with Tenney, Salazar, and Meszaros placing second overall.
  • Nate Gardner, Molly Hemenway, Nicholas Sauer and Anthony Tenney competed in the National Trial Competition.
  • Lauren Cormany, Olivia McQuarrie, and Carter Moore won Best Brief for Petitioneres at the Pace Environmental Law Moot Court Competition.
  • Alexander Blankers, Diana Pogosyan, Jacob Robison, and Emma Grissom competed in the UCLA Transactional Law Competition. Pogosyan and Grissom won Best Negotiation on the buyer side and Best Overall Team on the buyer side transaction.
  • Claira Malarkey and Andy Miller competed at the Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition, tying for the third-highest score out of 74 written submissions.
  • Caitlin Imhoff, Olivia McQuarrie, and Ashley Roberts worked in the new Environmental Justice Clinic, collaborating closely with community partners in the Red Mesa chapter of the Navajo Nation.
  • Camille McBride worked with Professor Leslie Francis on guardianship cases during her externship.
  • Andres Cervantes-Morales served as the patent advisor to 21 teams of medical and engineering students in the annual Bench 2 Bedside competition, helping them identify patentable inventions and draft provisional patent applications.
  • Lillian Kwock served as the inaugural Maschoff Brennan Intellectual Property Scholar, working with professors Contreras and Anderson on IP-related research and writing projects over the year.
  • Jena Matthews helped Professor Paul Cassell on the briefing in Colorado v. Counterman, a 2023 U.S. Supreme Court case.
  • Sarah Duensing presented empirical findings from her work with Professor Teneille Brown on laypeople’s attitudes toward the police use of genetic information at two national academic meetings.
  • Justin Eckman surprised Professor Brown with cookies and tacos after her dog passed away.
  • Alessandra Amato won the Utah State Bar’s Pro Bono Publico Law Student of the Year award.
  • Molly Hemenway was awarded the Dee Benson Memorial Scholarship.
  • Brooklyn Lindsey was the Ronald Reagan fellow at the Goldwater Institute in summer 2023.
  • Nichole Briceno was awarded the 2022-2023 Durham Fellowship by the Utah Center for Legal Inclusion.
  • Maria Fernandez was awarded the college’s first-ever Arc to Justice fellowship along with Jesus Salazar.
  • Anna Hall received the inaugural Alexander Zeev Guiora Bystander Initiative award.
  • Bree Spaulding received the LGBTQ+ and Allied Lawyers of Utah student award.

Check out more photos from convocation in our Flickr album and watch a video recap below.