College of Law

Toledo Law Commencement Ceremony Celebrates Student and Faculty Success

May 6, 2019

The annual commencement ceremony for The University of Toledo College of Law was held on Sunday, May 5, 2019, at the Student Union Auditorium. Mary Ellen Pisanelli of The University of Toledo Board of Trustees conferred degrees to approximately 70 graduates.

In attendance were Board of Trustees Stephen Ciucci and Jeffrey Cole, Dr. Karen Bjorkman, interim provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, and Dr. Christopher Cooper, executive vice president for clinical affairs and dean of the College of Medicine and Life Sciences.

Keynote Speaker

Angelita Cruz Bridges '00 delivered remarks to the graduating class. Cruz Bridges serves as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio. She litigates civil cases and represents U.S. interests in civil rights cases—enforcing federal anti-discrimination laws in the areas of fair housing, disability rights, and education. 

She has numerous commendations including the 2015 Director’s Award from the Director of the Executive Office of U.S. Attorneys for her superior performance investigating financial fraud.

Throughout her career, Cruz Bridges has served in leadership roles with the Toledo Women’s Bar Association, Toledo Bar Association, and Thurgood Marshall Law Association. She is currently a member of the Zepf Center Board of Trustees, the Toledo Zoo Board of Trustees, and president of the Toledo Chapter of Jack and Jill of America.

Student Awards

Alexis Holman received the Valedictorian Award. Holman was born and raised in Toledo. She earned her bachelor's degree in brain, behavior, and cognitive science from the University of Michigan. Holman is completing her JD/MD joint degrees this spring. She matched with her top choice, the anesthesiology residency program at the University of Michigan, where she plans to pursue clinical training and medico-legal research.

"Alexis has been a vital part of the law and medicine communities during her time here," said Professor Elizabeth McCuskey, who co-directs the University’s JD/MD and JD/MPH joint degree programs. "Her research on the legal and medical consequences of the FDA's bioequivalence standard for generic drugs won a prestigious competition at the American College of Legal Medicine. She presented her interdisciplinary research to a national conference of JD/MDs. Alexis was also instrumental in helping to tailor the JD/MD program to meet the changing needs of both medical and legal education.

"I expect that her residency will continue her trajectory of success informed by her interdisciplinary perspective. Her insightful engagement with the interactions of law and medicine will serve her well. Alexis is an asset to both professions and a health care leader in the making."

April Johnson 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. Johnson is from Chicago. She earned her bachelor's degree in social work from The University of Toledo. Her legal areas of interest include criminal law, civil rights law, and business and tort litigation. At Toledo Law, Johnson was actively involved in both the Black Law Student Association (BLSA) and The University of Toledo Law Review. Johnson's long-term career goal is to be a state Supreme Court judge or a U.S. district court judge.

"April is a remarkable student and a wonderful member of our community," said Dean D. Benjamin Barros. "The faculty rave about her academic ability. She has been a leader at the College of Law, serving as executive articles editor of the Toledo Law Review. She also has a special gift for the law. I have heard from lawyers who have worked with her in externships and clinics that her legal ability outshines that of many practicing lawyers. I have no doubt that April will achieve great things."

Faculty Award

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

Billy Jeffers, outgoing president of the Student Bar Association (SBA), presented Lammon with the award. "I will never forget at my Preview Day when Professor Lammon told me that he loved teaching Evidence," said Jeffers. "He said that because every student has to take the class, it gives him the opportunity to know every student that he will eventually marshal into graduation. This professor has dedicated himself to his students so much that he even provides a free casebook to those who take his course."

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

Last Updated: 7/3/19