Commencement speaker for 2015: Camille Holmes

A prominent advocate for civil rights and racial justice will be this year’s keynote commencement speaker.

Camille Holmes is the director of leadership and racial equity at the National Legal Aid & Defender Association, which has pioneered access to justice at the national, state and local levels for more than 100 years.

Prior to her current position, Ms. Holmes served as senior staff attorney and co-director of the Project for the Future of Equal Justice at the Center for Law & Social Policy; executive director of the Southern Africa Legal Services & Legal Education Project; and an attorney in Washington, D.C.

She is a board member of the Poverty & Race Research Action Council, a founding member of the Jamestown Project and past board president of the Washington Council of Lawyers.
Recognized in 2009 with the Equal Justice Society’s “Race Consciousness in the Law Award,” Holmes was praised as a “strong voice in advancing the critical work of race equity [whose] work in creating safe spaces for discussions of race, power and difference has led directly to the emergence and advancement of advocates committed to achieving racial equity.”

Her work with NLADA is directed towards fostering racial justice across a wide spectrum of the legal community, including public defenders, legal aid practitioners, and client advocates.

Commencement speakers are traditionally chosen by the college president.

This year’s commencement, as has become tradition, will also feature three student speakers, representing undergraduate, graduate and EDP programs.

“The student speakers add an important dimension to the ceremony,” said JSC president Barbara Murphy. “Their’s are usually brief sets of remarks expressing wonder and appreciation for the path their educations have taken.”

The process for choosing the undergraduate speaker was managed by the Director of Student Activities and SERVE, Krista Swahn. Interested students had to submit a draft of the speech they intended to give and explain their reasons for wanting to represent the graduating class.

Environmental Sciences major Dylan Gomez has been given that honor.

As of press time, graduate and EPD students, who are chosen by their respective program directors, had not been announced.