Los Angeles County DA Encourages Southwestern Graduates
During Southwestern's 98th Commencement Ceremony held on May 12 at the Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey treated graduates and their 3,500 family members and guests to an inspiring speech. As the first female and first African American District Attorney for Los Angeles County, Ms. Lacey oversees the largest prosecutorial agency in the nation, which has more than 2,000 employees. During the ceremony, degrees were conferred on 328 J.D. and 23 LL.M. graduates, and Ms. Lacey was also presented with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.
For her first commencement speech, Ms. Lacey shared her perspectives on the trials and tribulations of running a campaign for elected office while staying true to oneself. In describing some of the highest and lowest points of that experience, she used it to illustrate why it is important for the new graduates not to shy away from pursuing their goals, no matter how lofty.
After a distinguished 30-year career as a prosecutor, Ms. Lacey has led the District Attorney's Office for six months - and she still works 16-hour days and loves the job. She greatly appreciates that as a woman from humble, working-class roots, she has been able to achieve this extraordinary goal. "I want to run up to every person I see with a dream who is hesitating and say 'Just take the first step,'" she said. "Sometimes what seems like the impossible is merely difficult."
She exhorted the members of the graduating class to not only consider their dreams, but to think about whatever it is that is holding them back. "Most journeys to achieve something worthwhile are marathons. The problem with marathons is they are long, which allows for plenty of time for us to receive negative messages. I call it 'noise.' My advice to you is to learn to block out the noise in life and keep going."