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College of Law Commencement Ceremony Honors Graduates and Faculty

May 7, 2018

Hon. Gary Farmer, Sr.
© 2008 Kristen Hines Baker

The annual commencement ceremony for The University of Toledo College of Law was held on Sunday, May 6, 2018 at the Student Union Auditorium. Trustee Mary Ellen Pisanelli of The University of Toledo Board of Trustees conferred degrees to approximately 70 graduates.

Keynote Speaker

The Hon. Gary Farmer, Sr. (’73), received a special introduction from his son, Florida Senator Gary M. Farmer, Jr. (’91), before delivering remarks to the graduating class. Farmer, Sr. served as a judge for the Florida Fourth District Court of Appeals from 1991-2010 and chief judge from 2003-2005. He earned degrees from Florida Atlantic University (BA in history), The University of Toledo College of Law (JD), and the University of Virginia School of Law (LLM).

Student Awards

Breanne Hitchen received the Valedictorian Award and served as the student speaker at commencement. Hitchen earned both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in criminal justice from Bowling Green State University. During her time at the College of Law, she served as a summer associate at Jones Day, judicial extern at the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, intern at Lucas County Children Services, and intern at the Wood County Prosecutor’s Office. After the Bar Exam, Hitchen plans to work for Jones Day in Cleveland, Ohio. 

"From the first day of law school, Bre impressed me with her eagerness to learn and engagement in the classroom,” said Professor Terrell Allen, legal writing professor and director of legal research, writing and appellate advocacy. “As a teaching assistant and the law school writing tutor, she went above and beyond expectations in her outreach and accessibility to students, always looking for opportunities to help the students with their writing. She is easily one of the most conscientious and hard-working students I’ve ever had."

Nancy Magginis received the Dean’s Award, which honors the graduating student who has made the most significant contribution to the college while maintaining high academic performance. Magginis earned bachelor’s degrees in French and business administration from The University of Toledo.

“Nancy has contributed a tremendous amount to our community during her time at the College of Law,” said Dean D. Benjamin Barros. “I often heard from her peers about how much they respected her as a colleague, friend, and leader. This award recognizes her achievements while at the College of Law, including winning the best oralist award in the Fornoff Competition, and the kindness she has showed to the members of the College of Law community.”

Faculty Awards

Dean D. Benjamin Barros presented Professor Eric Chaffee with the Faculty Scholarship Award for his article, “The Origins of Corporate Social Responsibility,” published in the University of Cincinnati Law Review. Professor Chaffee also received the Beth Eisler First Year Teaching Award, which is selected by the first-year class.

The first-year award was presented to Professor Chaffee by Nicole Kurtanich, first-year law student. “Every class he’d push our boundaries and really challenge us to think about the material deeper,” said Kurtanich.

Graduating students selected Professor Kara Bruce as the recipient of the Outstanding Professor Award for Dedication to Legal Education.

Adam Borgman, outgoing president of the Student Bar Association (SBA), presented Bruce with the award. “Professor Bruce made herself available to us anytime day or night,” said Borgman. “Not even the birth of her child prevented her from engaging students outside of class. She genuinely cares about the progress of her students and her passion for teaching is evident in everything she does to help them succeed.”

The commencement ceremony was followed by a reception at the Law Center.

Read Commencement Address

Last Updated: 8/29/18