The Golden Gate University School of Law commencement ceremony brings together law students' families, friends, faculty and staff in an annual rite and singular celebration.



Friday, May 12, 2017
11 am
Davies Symphony Hall
201 Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco

The main entrance to the building is located on Grove St. between Van Ness Ave. and Franklin St. in San Francisco.

Students must arrive by 10 am to check in, line up and make sure they have properly put on their graduation regalia. Please see Student Check-In information.

Family and friends may not wait with students while they check in, line up and proceed to stage. Family and friends will be permitted into the auditorium at 10:30 am. Guests who have notified us they will need accommodated seating (please see Special Accommodations) will be permitted to enter through a separate entrance and encouraged to take their seats between 10 and 10:30 am.

The ceremony will begin promptly at 11 am and will last about 2 hours. Please stay seated during the entire ceremony unless instructed to do otherwise. The venue states that food and drinks are prohibited inside the auditorium, and violators will be removed.


Presiding Judge Teri L. Jackson for the Superior Court of San Francisco County will be GGU Law's 2017 Commencement Speaker.  

The Honorable Teri L. Jackson has served on the San Francisco Bench since September 2002. In October 2016, Judge Jackson was elected as the first female African American Presiding Judge after serving as the first female African American Assistant Presiding Judge in San Francisco. Her 2-year term as Presiding Judge began on January 1, 2017. From 2011 to 2015, she presided over asbestos and CEQA litigation. In 2016, she was the Supervising Judge of the Criminal Division. Prior to that Judge Jackson presided over a wide array of civil and criminal trials. Judge Jackson’s leadership and expertise has led to numerous statewide judicial appointments and assignments. In October 2016, Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye appointed Judge Jackson to the Pretrial Detention Reform Work Group, she is one of 11 Judges selected to serve on this work group. The work group will study current pretrial detention practices and provide recommendations for potential reforms.

In 2008, she was one of 22 Judges selected by the Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court to sit in Riverside County on a special Criminal Backlog Reduction Task Force. The task force was able to resolve more than 1,000 backlogged criminal cases in one year. In 2010, Chief Justice Ronald M. George appointed Judge Jackson to serve as an advisory member of the Judicial Council, and in June 2011, Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye appointed her as a voting member of the Judicial Council. The Chief Justice also appointed Judge Jackson to serve on the Advisory Committee on Financial Accountability and Efficiency for the Judicial Branch; Advisory Committee on Providing Access & Fairness; Trial Court Presiding Judges Advisory Committee (TCPJAC)/Court Executives Advisory Committee (CEAC); and as a liaison to the Court Facilities Subcommittee.

She has been an invited lecturer throughout the country and around the world on subjects such as mass tort litigation, complex commercial litigation, diversity in the legal profession, and litigation best practices. Among all of these duties, Judge Jackson also has found time to teach and speak to members of the community. Since January 2006, Judge Jackson has been teaching as an Adjunct Law Professor for the Hastings College of Law in San Francisco. Since January 2005 until December 2006 and January 2012 until the present, Judge Jackson held the position of Adjunct Law Professor at the University of San Francisco School of Law. She also was a Law Instructor for the San Francisco Law School from October 1984 to May 1992. Recently, Judge Jackson has opened up her courtroom on Friday afternoons for students, young lawyers, and members of the public to be able to come in and talk about concerns and struggles they are currently facing.

Governor Gray Davis appointed Judge Jackson to the San Francisco Bench in August 2002. She is the first African American female judge to be appointed to the San Francisco Bench. Prior to her judicial appointment, Judge Jackson was an attorney for nearly five years with Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, LLP, in San Francisco, where she specialized in complex litigation, employment defense, real estate, trade secrets, bankruptcy and white-collar defense in federal and state courts.

Before entering into private practice, Judge Jackson served as an Assistant District Attorney in the San Mateo County Attorneys Office from 1981 to 1984, and the Office of the San Francisco Attorney from May 1984 until November 1997. She held numerous Managing Attorney positions in Misdemeanor Trials, Domestic Violence and Homicide Units.

Judge Jackson earned her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C. She is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Judge Jackson was a member of numerous professional associations, including the California Judges Association; Northern California Association of Business Trial Lawyers; and American Inn of Court, Edward J. McFetridge. She also was a member of several civic associations, including the Young Scholars Program; Board of Directors, Peninsula Community Foundation; Mid-Peninsula Boys and Girls Club; the San Francisco Soroptimist; and the Mural Music and Arts Project.

In November 2015, Judge Jackson was the recipient of the Champion of Diversity award from the Minority Bar Coalition. She was recognized in April 2013 for her leadership in the community with the Leadership Award from the Mural Music and Arts Project. March 2008, Judge Jackson was the recipient of the Madam C.J. Walker Pioneer Award. She earned recognition in September 2007 from the National Council of Negro Women, Inc. In April 2006, she received the A. Philip Randolph Institute Roseina Tucker Award.


The Graduation Committee is pleased to announce Marco Samson (JD) has been selected to deliver the student speech at the graduation ceremony to represent Graduate Law and JD Programs.


GradImages will take professional pictures of the ceremony. Guests must remain in their seats and maintain the safety and dignity of this very important event. GradImages will take student photographs as they walk across the stage. On the back of the name card that students receive at check-in, they can indicate a mailing address or e-mail address. GradImages will mail or e-mail students a proof of their picture, which can then be purchased online.


If you are attending and need accommodations for you or your guests, such as wheelchair space or extra time to get to their seats, please contact Megan Brown at or 415-442-6615. We have requested certain seating arrangements to meet the needs of the guests. If your guests arrive the day of the event without prior arrangements, we cannot guarantee accommodations.


Strollers are not permitted inside the auditorium. There will be a secured place to store strollers, and a venue staff member to watch over them during the ceremony. Before entering the auditorium, have your or guest's stroller placed in the stroller and coat check-in area. Please make sure to pick up your or guest's stroller immediately following the ceremony.


By Car from the Golden Gate Bridge:

After crossing the bridge, take US 101 to Lombard Street. Turn right on Van Ness Ave. Turn right on Grove Street. Davies Symphony Hall will be on your left. Continue on Grove Street to park in the Performing Arts Garage.

By Car from the Bay Bridge:

After crossing the bridge, take the Ninth Street/Civic Center Exit onto Harrison Street. Go one block and turn right onto Ninth. Stay to the left and continue on Ninth across Market Street onto Hayes Street. Take Hayes to Franklin Street and turn right. Drive one block on Franklin to Grove Street for parking in the Performing Arts Garage.

By Car from the Peninsula via 101:

Take US 101 North and exit at 9th Street. Turn left off the exit ramp onto 9th Street. Stay to the left and continue on 9th Street across Market Street onto Hayes Street. Take Hayes to Franklin Street and turn right. Drive one block on Franklin to Grove Street for parking in the Performing Arts Garage.

Parking Garage:

Commencement is taking place on a Friday during business hours, and parking will be limited. The Performing Arts Garage does not guarantee parking to the graduates or guests. The Civic Center Garage is also located near Davies Symphony Hall, at 355 McAllister Street between Polk and Larkin streets.

More detailed information about directions and parking can be found at



Students must arrive by 10 am to check in, line up and make sure they have properly put on their graduation regalia. When you arrive, you will be instructed to check-in at a particular table depending on your last name and degree. You will receive a colored card with a name label on it. Beneath the label, you are to write the phonetic spelling of your name to assist the name reader. Please hold on to this card until you hand it over to the name reader during the graduation ceremony. If you have a particularly difficult name to pronounce, you may receive a call from Jamie Nye in advance of graduation asking you to confirm the proper pronunciation of your name. You are free to contact her directly at

On the back of the name card is information from the photographer. See more information about Commencement Photography.

After you have checked-in, the staff will direct you to a robing area to put on your regalia. If you have not received your pre-ordered regalia prior to graduation day, you must contact the bookstore immediately. Please put on your regalia and be all ready to go. Line up for the processional begins at 10:30 am sharp.


After check-in, you will be directed to the robing area. Staff will be available to help you with your regalia. Please bring safety pins and bobby pins to secure your cap and gown as necessary. Tassels should remain on the left since you already have received your undergraduate degree.

  • It is best to have your regalia ironed and ready to go when you arrive.
  • Please wear sensible shoes as you will be walking up and down stairs.


JD students who are graduating with Highest Honors or Honors will receive honor cords to wear during the graduation ceremony. The Law School's Highest Honors and Honors policy for JD graduates is as follows: based on cumulative GPAs as of the fall 2015 semester, Highest Honors will go to those students who were in the top 5% of their class. Honors will go to the students who were in the top 10% of their class. Eligible students will receive their honor cords when they check-in at the graduation ceremony.


There is no place to put your personal belongings in the check-in area. Please bring to the check-in area only what you intend to wear as you walk across the stage, and have your family and friends hold on to any other personal belongings. The staff is not responsible for any lost or left behind items.


The processional will form at 10:30 am. JD, LLM and SJD graduates will line up in separate lines according to degree and program. Within each degree, the students will be lined up alphabetically by using the number labels on their cards. Students are to follow the directions of the marshals. The marshals will direct you into your lines, take you up the stairs and seat you. When it is your turn to receive your degree, the marshals will escort you up to the platform. You then will walk up the stairs, hand your card to the name reader, walk across the stage, shake hands with the faculty standing on stage, receive your scroll, and walk off the stage and down the stairs on the opposite side of the podium. When you are off the platform, the marshals will again direct you back to your seat. Please show respect for your classmates who receive their diplomas after you by remaining quiet and orderly as you leave the stage and are guided back to your seat. You must return to your seat until the recessional.



The Bookstore will be collecting the rental gowns and hoods at the conclusion of the ceremony. Graduates will be returning their rental gowns and hoods at Box Office (the same location check-in occurred). If you're planning on taking portrait pictures, please make arrangements before the date of the ceremony. Your school account will be charged $300, if the bookstore does not receive your gown and hood by May 12th. Graduates and guests are free to leave the venue and attend their own celebrations.