SWLAW Blog | Awards & Honors

Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye & Tom Hoberman

April 29, 2017

Chief Justice of California Supreme Court to Speak at Commencement; Thomas H. Hoberman to Receive Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree

The Honorable Tani Cantil-Sakauye, Chief Justice of California, will serve as the commencement speaker at Southwestern's 102nd Commencement Ceremony May 21, 2017, at the Shrine Auditorium. It is fitting that this trailblazing woman will be addressing the class of a law school which was founded over 100 years ago on the principle of providing broad access to the legal profession. In fact, Southwestern’s first graduate, Betty Trier Berry, became the nation’s first female public defender.

The 28th Chief Justice of California, the Honorable Cantil-Sakauye, is the first Asian-Filipina and the second woman to hold the office in state history. In 1990, Governor George Deukmejian appointed her to the Sacramento Municipal Court, and in 1997, Governor Pete Wilson elevated her to the Superior Court of Sacramento County. In 2005, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger nominated her to the Court of Appeal, Third Appellate District, and five years later in July 2010, he chose her to succeed retiring Chief Justice Ronald M. George as the highest judicial officer in the state. California voters confirmed her in the position at the November 2010 general election. 

“Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye is an extraordinary person, one who has led the California courts with an innovative spirit in challenging times,” said Dean Susan Westerberg Prager. “She is a person who has made a difference throughout her career. I cannot think of a more appropriate speaker to inspire and empower Southwestern’s 2017 graduating class.”

Southwestern Trustee, Thomas Hoberman ’75, will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree at the commencement ceremony. A prominent entertainment attorney, an active leader in the Southwestern Law School community, and philanthropist, Mr. Hoberman is a partner in the firm of Hansen, Jacobson, Teller, Hoberman, Newman, Warren, Richman, Rush, Kaller & Gellman LLP in Beverly Hills. He practices transactional entertainment law, focused on the representation of actors, writers, producers, and directors.

Mr. Hoberman has been a member of the Southwestern Board of Trustees since 2002 and served as Chair from December 2011 through 2015. He is a past Co-Chair of the law school's Biederman Entertainment and Media Law Institute Executive Board, which plays a critical role in the growth of the internationally recognized Institute. As a generous contributor to Southwestern with a vested interest in student success, he and his wife, Ellen, established the Tom and Ellen Hoberman Endowed Scholarship Fund in 2003, providing assistance to outstanding Southwestern students with financial need.

“It has been an honor for me to work with a person of Tom Hoberman’s wisdom, balance, integrity, commitment, and fundamental good judgment,” stated Dean Susan Westerberg Prager. “He has always been there whenever Southwestern has needed him. It is particularly satisfying to see such a highly effective and truly modest person recognized.”