Skip to main
University-wide Navigation

On Friday, May 3, the University of Kentucky J. David Rosenberg College of Law held its commencement ceremony for the Class of 2024 at the Singletary Center for the Arts. “This class is a collection of stellar students who have formed an extraordinary community that excels in the classroom and extends beyond it,” said UK Rosenberg Law Dean Mary J. Davis.

As the top-ranked student in the class, Lauren N. Eickholz of Paducah, Kentucky, gave remarks on behalf of the students. The graduating class selected Professor Paul E. Salamanca, Wendell H. Ford Professor of Law, to provide remarks on behalf of the faculty, and Kentucky Bar Association President W. Fletcher McMurry Schrock, a 1977 alumnus of the law school, spoke on behalf of the bar.

Eickholz shared the advice she would give aspiring law students based on her experiences in law school. She said she would tell an aspiring law student to never let imposter syndrome stop them, to lean on those around them, and to allow law school to change them. 

“Law school can change your life if you let it,” Eickholz said.

Salamanca reminded the graduates that their path won’t always be easy, but they should attack challenges with gusto.

“What you’ve done is hard,” he said. “You may not realize how much you’ve learned, but you have. You’re astoundingly knowledgeable about the law in comparison to people who have not done what you’ve done over the last three years, and you’ll soon see how much you know as you prepare for the bar and as you get out there and practice.” 

Jennifer Bird-Pollan, associate dean of academic affairs and professor of law, called the graduates’ names as Dean Davis presented members of the class with certificates signifying attainment of the degree of Juris Doctor. The graduating class elected Professors Zachary A. Bray, James and Mary Lassiter Professor of Law, and Alan J. Kluegel to carry out a more recent tradition to place doctoral hoods on each graduate.

In addition, several graduates received special awards and recognition. Eighteen graduates are in the running for nomination and election to the Order of the Coif.  The top 10 percent of the class will be inducted once all grades are final. Twenty-one graduates were recognized with the Pro Bono Award for completing at least 50 hours of independent, law-related public service prior to graduation. 

Finally, the faculty selected Desmond C. Varner Jr., of Norfolk, Virginia, as the 2024 recipient of the Faculty Cup. The Faculty Cup recognizes a graduating student whose endeavors, both in and outside of the classroom, made the law school a more interesting place for faculty and students alike. Varner was the 2023 recipient of the Lyman T. Johnson Torchbearer Award and served as president of the Trial Advocacy Board.

“The Class of 2024’s Faculty Cup recipient is described by their nominators as a ‘an ever-present force of pure positivity’ and as a ‘constant presence, ready to provide joy, encouragement, and advice to other students, faculty members, and staff,’” Davis said.

Davis concluded the ceremony by congratulating the graduates once again and welcoming them to the profession. “I know each one of you will continue to add to the nobility of our profession,” she said.

Order of the Coif eligible:

Jacob Baird

Eddie Beusch

William Vincent Bosch

Caleb Benjamin Childers

Autumn Renee Clark

Ryan Crum

Billy J. Devericks II

Andrew Clay Edwards

Lauren Nicole Eickholz

Erik Farleigh

Daniela Foltz

Isabel Harrison

Hayden K. Hickey

Dylan James Keefe

Elizabeth Lieser

Shelton Elizabeth Owen

Emily M. Puckett

Nathaniel Lewis Richey

Pro Bono Award: 

Harper Blair Anderson

Onyeka D. Anosike

Hailey Combs

Madelyn Reed Day

Annie Deitz

Cherish McKenna Derrickson

Hayden K. Hickey

Hope Hickey

Talia C. Housman

Jessica Dawn Hutchings

Dylan James Keefe

Elizabeth Leathers

Olivia G. Manuel

Janvi Viral Patel

Emily M. Puckett

Morgan R. Sanchez

Claire Emiko Sandberg

Kamryn Stewart

Desmond C. Varner Jr.

Miles C. White

Alyssa N. Wiggins


commencement 2024