American University Washington College of Law to Welcome Judy Smith ‘86, Founder and President of Leading Strategic and Crisis Communications Firm, as 2014 Commencement Speaker

DAY-OF-EVENT CONTACT: Megan Smith, 202-556-9196 (cell)


Washington, D.C., May 9, 2014 - American University Washington College of Law will welcome Judy A. Smith ‘86, founder and president of Smith & Company a leading strategic and crisis communications firm and co-executive producer of ABC’s Scandal, as the 2014 Commencement Speaker. The law school's commencement will be held May 18, 2014, at 1 p.m. at American University's Bender Arena (4400 Massachusetts Ave., NW). Smith will be presented with an honorary doctor of laws. View full commencement details.


"We are honored to welcome alumna Judy Smith as our 2014 commencement speaker," said Claudio Grossman, dean, American University Washington College of Law. “Judy’s vibrant entrepreneurial spirit—as evident by her impressive career—makes her an excellent role model for all our graduates.”

Prior to founding Smith & Company, Smith was a partner at several Washington, D.C.- based public relations firms. Before that, she served as senior vice president of corporate communications at NBC. Additionally, she served as NBC’s chief spokesperson for domestic and international programming and business ventures, and also helped with the groundbreaking launch of MSNBC. In 1991, Smith joined the White House with her appointment as special assistant and deputy press secretary to President George H. W. Bush. During her tenure she provided the president and his Cabinet with communications advice on a wide range of foreign and domestic issues. Smith received a bachelor of science degree in public relations from Boston University and graduated from AUWCL in 1986, where she served as the first African-American woman to serve as the executive editor of the American University Law Review. Full bio.

In the Spring 2014 graduating class, 464 students will be earning their Juris Doctor (JD), 184 graduating with a Master of Laws (LL.M.), and seven with a Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD).

Media RSVP:

On-site registration and check-in will be at the Bender Arena loading dock. All media should be checked in 15 minutes prior to the start of the ceremony. Parking is available at the Asbury parking lot next to the arena. Downloadable map.

To RSVP and for additional media assistance for the May 18 ceremony, please contact Megan Smith, (202) 274-4276 (o) (202) 556-9196 (c).


About American University Washington College of Law

In 1896, American University Washington College of Law became the first law school in the country founded by women. More than 100 years since its founding, this law school community is grounded in the values of equality, diversity, and intellectual rigor. The law school's nationally and internationally recognized programs (in clinical legal education, trial advocacy, international law, and intellectual property to name a few) and dedicated faculty provide its 1700 JD, LL.M., and SJD students with the critical skills and values to have an immediate impact as students and as graduates, in Washington, D.C. and around the world. For more information, visit