Fall 2021 graduates persevere

The Charleston School of Law held its Fall 2021 Commencement ceremony at the Charleston Museum Auditorium on Saturday.

For the 35 students who earned their degree, the law school experience was like none before them, nor will it be the same for any future graduate. The Fall 2021 graduating class is the first to earn their degree amid a global pandemic.

Dean Larry Cunningham could sense the importance of the moment and congratulated the Fall 2021 graduating class for their character, flexibility and perseverance.

“Many of you had at most one normal semester of law school before COVID-19 hit,” said Dean Cunningham. “You have all persevered through a challenging time for legal education … Through it all, you, our students, have adapted and persevered. You responded to the pandemic with a sense of shared purpose and good will.”

Charleston School of Law president Ed Bell encouraged students by sharing “a few life lessons.” Bell told the graduates, “Great work only comes from those who do work they love. There is something about passion that drives excellence. Your inner self will help guide you to make sure your focus is on helping others first — and if that is your focus, the other things in life will fall in place.”

President Bell also reminded the graduates of the importance of integrity in the legal profession calling it “one of the fundamental values that defines our lives. It is the hallmark of a person who demonstrates sound moral and ethical principles. Integrity is the foundation on which we build trust and relationships. Integrity is forever. It means do the right thing in all circumstances, whether or not anyone is watching. Integrity keeps the soul righteous and the moral compass calibrated.”

The Fall 2021 graduating class at Charleston Law included eight earning Presidential Honors, three cum laude, three magna cum laude (with a concentration in Maritime Law) and two summa cum laude (Maritime Honors).

Charleston Law students Rebekah Campbell and Julia Fekete were recognized as the newest members of the Charleston School of Law Forensic Club. Selection is based on three criteria: demonstrated leadership, professionalism, and academic commitment.

“Both Rebekah Campbell and Julia Fekete have abundantly demonstrated and met these requirements,” said Dean Cunningham.

The Charleston School of Law requires each student to perform a minimum of 50 hours of pro bono (“for the public good”) service to the community. Charleston Law experiential learning opportunities sends students from the classroom to the front lines of the professional legal system. This experience provides the next generation of legal professionals with practical, hands-on experience.

During the ceremony the School recognized students for their commitment to public service. The following graduates were celebrated for going above-and-beyond the minimum requirements to perform100 or more hours of public service:

  • Alexandra Megan Hawkins
  • Brooke Alexandra Keller
  • Samantha Reini Marcello
  • Alison Marie Murphy
  • Madeline Elise Nelson
  • Carlie James Petrovics
  • Jessica Aileen Stark

“At the heart of our mission as a Law School is the concept of pro bono populi—for the good of the people,” said Cunningham. “Our faculty and staff have instilled this commitment to public service in students since our founding.”

In addition, the following faculty members were recognized:


The Charleston School of Law is an ABA-accredited law school nationally recognized for its student-centric culture. Our faculty and staff are committed to preparing you for success both in the classroom and in the legal profession.

Quick facts about Charleston School of Law

  • The Princeton Review ranks Charleston School of Law professors second in the country for faculty accessibility (2021)
  • Charleston School of Law faculty ranked among the top of The Princeton Review’s list of Best Professors in the nation (2016-2018)
  • Experiential Learning: Charleston School of Law students have access to about more than 150 externship sites, creating opportunities for experiential learning in the legal field.
  • Community Service: Charleston School of Law students have performed more than 241,000 community service hours (2004-current).
  • Students have won the National Tax Moot Court Championship for seven consecutive years (2012-2018)
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