American University Washington College of Law Celebrates Commencement 2013

Harold Koh, Professor and Former Legal Adviser to the State Department, Gives Address

VIEW VIDEO: Full Commencement

VIEW VIDEO: Remarks by Mr. Harold Koh

VIEW VIDEO: Remarks by Dean Claudio Grossman

VIEW VIDEO: Remarks by Abby Duggan, student speaker

American University Washington College of Law welcomed Harold Koh, Yale Law School professor and former legal adviser to the U.S. Department of State, as the spring 2013 commencement speaker. The ceremony was held May 19, 2013 at American University's Bender Arena.

"The long hours, the uncertainties, and your resilience and perseverance have led to this impressive achievement," said Dean Claudio Grossman to the graduates. "You have demonstrated superb skills, built lasting friendships that are going to grow through time, and created many memories during your time in law school."

(Pictured Left: AU President Neil Kerwin, Harold Koh, and Dean Claudio Grossman)

Koh was awarded an honorary Doctor of International Laws by American University President Neil Kerwin.

"Live your values, they make you who you are," Koh said in his address to the law school's 474 JD, 94 LL.M., and 2 SJD graduates."In the years ahead you will face difficult choices...As you make these decisions about life and law, more and more you will come to trust yourselves. You'll come to believe in yourselves. You have spent years seeking wisdom from others, and now you will find it in yourselves."

Koh is one of the country’s leading experts in public and private international law, national security law, and human rights. He first began teaching at Yale Law School in 1985 and served as dean from 2004 until 2009, when he took leave to join the U.S. State Department. From 1993 to 2009, he was the Gerard C. & Bernice Latrobe Smith Professor of International Law at Yale Law School, and from 1998 to 2001, he served as U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. He has received 12 honorary degrees and more than 30 awards for his human rights work, including awards from Columbia Law School and the American Bar Association for his lifetime achievements in international law.

Koh has authored or co-authored eight books, published more than 170 articles, testified before Congress, and litigated numerous cases involving international law issues. Koh holds a B.A. degree from Harvard College and B.A. and M.A. degrees from Oxford University, where he was a Marshall Scholar. He earned his J.D. from Harvard Law School, where he was developments editor of the Harvard Law Review. Full bio.

Student speaker for the ceremony, Abby Duggan (pictured left), spoke about the potential of her fellow graduates and their deep commitment to justice and the rule of law.

"I can honestly say that I have never met a more impressive group of individuals with such interesting pasts and promising futures," she said. "Thank you, all of you, for your part in helping eachother grow as people, and into lawyers."

The commencement ceremony was followed by a reception attended by graduates, family, and friends on the American University Quadrangle.


Student Awards Announced at Commencement 2013

  • Administrative Law Review Award: Michael Becker
  • Business Law Review Award: Yaritza Velez
  • Clair A. Cripe Award: Kira Hettinger and Benjamin Tarr
  • Clinical Legal Education Association's (CLEA) Student of the Year Award: Judy Hanrahan and Meaghan O’Neill
  • Dean’s Award for Professional Responsibility: Stephanie Canouli, EmilyRose Johns, Lauren Khouri, LaNita McWilliams, Jason Nivea, Sara Thomas.
  • Edward C. Bou Award: JD: Ji-Hyun Ryu; LLM: Yulia Genin
  • Gillett Prize: Michael Gropper
  • Human Rights Brief Award: Kaitlin Brush and Anna Naimark
  • International Law Review Award: Kristian Soltes
  • Journal of Gender, Social Policy & the Law Award: David Wexelblat
  • Lura E. Turley Prize: Joseph Gross
  • Mussey Prize: FT: Samir Aguirre, Alice Brathwaite, Guilia diMarzo, Rebecca Feathers, Emily Gianetta, Michael Gropper, Jeremy Kelley, Brett Seifried. PT: Allison Marie; LaNita McWilliams; Michael Sher.
  • Mooers Trophy (Trial Advocacy): Shailee Diwanji, Ellis Palividas, Sarah Thomas, Allison Heldreth
  • Outstanding Graduate Award (L.L.M International Legal Studies): Michael Stone
  • Outstanding Research and Writing Award (LL.M. International Legal Studies): Joana Abrego and Carmel Pomerantz
  • Outstanding Graduate Award (LL.M. Law and Government): Lauren Dudley
  • Outstanding Research and Writing Award (LL.M. in Law and Government): Pauline Higgins
  • Outstanding Graduate Award (JD): Alice Brathwaite and Giulia di Marzo
  • Solf Award: Yulia A. Genin
  • T. Morton McDonald Scholarship Award: Jeff Kettle
  • Thomas O. Sargentich Award (Law & Government): Phattharaporn Phetphong
  • WCL Alumni Award: Abby Duggan and Jess Portmess