May 31, 2022

Over 200 Graduates Gather for Commencement 2022

The first full commencement ceremony in two years took place at Griswold Stadium for the class of 2022 with over 200 graduates in attendance.

Under brilliant blue sunny skies, the 2022 Commencement ceremony took place at Lewis & Clark’s Griswold Stadium. The event was remarkable, as the first full ceremony in two years, celebrating a class that experienced significant disruption from COVID. Perhaps as a sign of the joyous event, two bald eagles cavorted over the crowd during the ceremony.

Oregon Supreme Court Justice Thomas Balmer gave the commencement address. “In choosing this path, you have become something larger and more important than yourself”. He noted Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendall Holmes, who “counsels us to look up, from time to time, to find the universal through the particular, the connection between what we do everyday as lawyers and the larger forces at work in the world.’ Justice Balmer also spoke about the responsibility of the law. “We lawyers are the grease that allows the wheels of the economy - and of our entire political and social system as well – to turn with as little friction as they do. As lawyers, you now have a particular obligation to help us move towards justice and towards a more perfect union - and you have the skills, and the prudential wisdom, to do just that.”

Dean Jennifer Johnson and President Wim Wiewel bestowed an honorary degree, the Doctor of Humane Letters, on Justice Balmer.

Dara Michelle Illowsky ’22 gave the Reflections of the Graduates address. She credited her fellow classmates, noting that “getting to this moment was a team effort. As much as I learned in the classroom, I learned just as much outside the classroom from all of you.” She quoted from many fellow law graduates and shared their advice. “One common thread that several friends shared was the importance of remembering why we came to Lewis & Clark in the first place. We were driven by a sense of wanting to help move our society to one that tends toward justice and equity; we came here to address one of the greatest threats to ever face the entire globe, climate change.”

Dara concluded her remarks by stating that “we are each integral pieces of each other’s law school experience and development into incredible future lawyers. Every one of us has done something that no one else in this crowd has done, and has contributed to the accomplishments of another. I hope you all find a way to celebrate that, and continue celebrating those victories, however great or small, as you head off into your future endeavors.”

The recipient of the 2022 Leo Levenson Award for teaching excellence, Professor Lisa Benjamin, was announced. Akriti Bhargava ’22 presented the award on behalf of her class. Professor Benjamin also spoke about the honor of receiving the award.

Dean Jennifer Johnson gave the final remarks, thanking graduates’ families and loved ones - both in the audience and watching via livestream - for their support, and reminding graduates to be “remarkable - not perfect,” cautioning that perfect is often the enemy of the good.

The ceremony was live-streamed and is available at this link: