UC Hastings Hosts Graduation Celebration for the Class of 2020

Former ASUCH President Myell Mergaert, left, and former 3L Class President Victoria Ayeni, right, spoke at the Class of 2020 celebration.

Leaders of the UC Hastings Class of 2020 chose to postpone commencement because of the pandemic and hoped they could get together for a celebration at a later date.

Just shy of two years from the class’s actual commencement, more than 500 people – including students and their families and friends – celebrated the Class of 2020 at Terra SF on April 9.

At the celebration, some graduates wore their caps and gowns, and several posed for pictures with family and friends.

In his address, Chancellor & Dean David Faigman warned the newly-minted lawyers there would be challenges ahead. He told them, “Define the path that makes your personal success.”

Andrew Giacomini ’91, a member of the UC Hastings Board of Directors, told the former students they’d already accomplished a great deal, “Graduating from law school is tough, especially a good law school like this one, sticking it out is hard, then finding yourselves finishing in a pandemic, it hasn’t been done before . . . You are pioneers.”

3L Class President Victoria Ayeni ’20 and former ASUCH President Myell Mergaert ’20 led their classmates on a humorous look of their experiences in law school and then thanked their classmates for the unity and support shown during the pandemic. “We all found a way to support one another, even from a distance,” Ayeni said.

“You have accomplished so, so much,” Mergaert added. “We think of your determination and energy and that you pushed each other to be the best versions of yourself. . . It was truly an honor being one of your classmates.”

Prof. Matt Coles, who was selected by the students to be the faculty graduation speaker, urged the graduates to get involved in the important issues of the day – including economic reform, government, and climate change. He said, “Jump into the political process as deeply as (you) can. You have the skills to know how to fix the problems – you know how to explain things and how to persuade people.” He added, “Get as deeply involved as you can and save us – I know you can do it.”