Given the charge to follow a path to both professional and personal satisfaction, 133 University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law graduates marched on to the next step of their lives Friday.

"We stand here today with our feet deeply planted in accomplishment and our hands stretching for achievement," Hiram E. Chodosh, dean of the U.'s law school, said. He commended the group of newly awarded juris doctorate recipients for their intelligence, empathy and courage.

"Our legal system requires care and attention," he said, adding his admonition for each graduate to "add to it the intelligence, depth and the attention that it needs. Show your leadership through service."

Student speakers Tyler L. Buswell and Monica Diaz Greene spoke of how the three years of intense training exceeded their expectations.

"Despite what's written on the men's restroom walls ... I still believe in justice, I still believe in truth," Buswell said. "We will find truth and justice in our duty to serve."

Greene highlighted the many "lifelong friendships" formed during her three years in law school at the U. Sharing in the highs and lows of both her personal and academic life resulted in many experiences with a class "full of exceptional people," she said.

Several faculty members were recognized for their exceptional service, teaching and dedication, including Jensie L. Anderson, who was awarded the Peter W. Billings Excellence in Teaching Award.

"Life has surprises for each of you," said Salt Lake Mayor Ralph Becker, who delivered the commencement address. He told the graduates that a law degree puts them at the start of a new trail, one for which they don't know the ending point.

"Take risks to pursue your passions. Embrace change and maintain your commitment to our society," said Becker, who comes from a family of lawyers.

In all, the Quinney College of Law conferred 134 degrees Friday, including one presented posthumously to Brian David Reagan, who was killed in a December car accident.

"Although it is a tragic loss, his exemplary record and great personality will inspire us forever," Chodosh said of Reagan, who "embodied qualities we strive for in legal education."

The graduates earned a standing ovation from Kingsbury Hall's crowd, which included both proud and teary-eyed parents, grandparents, spouses, siblings and children.

"Being in law school is just the beginning of a busy life," Becker said. He encouraged the newly awarded graduates to maintain a balance between career- and non-career-related things in life, as well as "live within a budget that reflects your modest needs."

"Follow the path that brings you professional and personal satisfaction," he said. "Your life, if you let it, will change just as much in the next 30 years."


E-mail: wleonard@desnews.com