Celebrating the Class of 2024

May 23, 2024

Carmichael Arena was filled with pride on Friday, May 10th, as the University of North Carolina School of Law held its commencement ceremony for the Class of 2024. Surrounded by family and friends, the 211 graduates received their Juris Doctor degrees.

The ceremony was marked by powerful speeches that underscored the immense responsibilities and opportunities that come with a law degree. James M. Deal Jr. ’74, the president of the UNC Law Alumni Association, brought greetings on behalf of the Association. Deal, a partner at Deal Moseley, & Smith in Boone, North Carolina, practices in the areas of trusts, estate planning, real estate law, and business law. He was awarded the Order of the Longleaf Pine in 2015 and is involved in many volunteer positions in western North Carolina, with a long history of service to the state.

Governor Cooper and Dean Brinkley taking in the ceremony
Governor Cooper and Dean Brinkley

Double Tar Heel Governor Roy Cooper ’82 delivered an inspiring commencement address, urging the new graduates to fearlessly apply their legal training to identify problems and devise innovative solutions, even if it means challenging the status quo. His words resonated deeply, reminding the class of their pivotal role as keepers of the rule of law and guardians of our democracy.

Dean Martin H. Brinkley ’92 presided over the ceremony and recognized the outstanding achievements of the Class of 2024. During their three years at Carolina Law, the graduates completed 10,723 hours of pro bono service, with 46 students contributing over 75 hours each.

Student Bar Association President Wheels Moyer speaking to the Class of 2024
Student Bar Association President Wheels Moyer speaking to the Class of 2024

Student Bar Association President Wheels Moyer and 3L Class President Andrew Worrell shared anecdotes that struck a chord with their classmates. They reminisced about the lifelong bonds forged through shared experiences – from late nights poring over cases to celebratory gatherings after hard-won victories. “We’ve learned just as much from each other as from our professors,” Worrell reflected, emphasizing how the diversity of backgrounds enriched their legal education.

Additionally, the ceremony honored students for exceptional research, writing, clinical work, pro bono service, and leadership. Eight outstanding graduates were inducted into the prestigious James E. and Carolyn B. Davis Society, recognized for their service and embodiment of Carolina Law’s core values.

A particularly poignant highlight was the presentation of the Frederick B. McCall Award for Teaching Excellence to Professor Osamudia James, selected by the graduating class. James paid tribute to her students in her acceptance speech, expressing, “I have drawn inspiration from you. I have taken courage from you. And if I was able to be a source of inspiration for you just once…then I might be able to say that I embody the spirit of this award,” her words capturing the profound, reciprocal impact that educators can have.

Professor Osamudia James Celebrating winning the McCall Award
Professor Osamudia James, Recipient of the Frederick B. McCall Award for Teaching Excellence

As the newly minted attorneys prepared to embark on their legal careers, Governor Cooper left them with a rousing call to action: “Make the choice every day to accept your responsibility and cast your lot with the problem solvers. Our complicated, messy, and beautiful world is waiting for you, and it will be better because you are there.”

For Carolina Law’s Class of 2024, commencement celebrated far more than academic milestones. It honored the transformative bonds of community, the diversity of perspectives that elevate discourse, and an unwavering commitment to service – all hallmarks of their Carolina Law experience and predictors of the great influence they will have in the legal profession.

For more photos, check out the 2024 Commencement Photo Album and the slide show on YouTube!