first_img Published: April 26, 2001 Three important events will mark the graduation of 167 students on May 11 at the University of Colorado School of Law commencement. The endowment of the J.J. Witt Memorial Law Scholarship will be announced; Gail Klapper will receive the Honorary Order of the Coif; and Jim Hightower, a man profiled on the CBS news show “60 Minutes” and listed by the National Journal as one of the 150 individuals “who make a difference,” will give the keynote address. The law commencement ceremony will be at 2 p.m. at Macky Auditorium and will be followed by a reception on the west side of Norlin Quadrangle. J.J. Witt was a member of the Class of 2001 before passing away in the summer of 1999 following his first year of law school. Class members voted to endow a scholarship in honor of Witt, which will be officially announced at the commencement. His mother will accept a plaque from the faculty and class acknowledging his academic achievement. The recipients of the scholarship will be chosen from applicants in the first-, second- and third-year classes on the basis of financial need and a good-natured pursuit of the law degree. Gail Klapper, an accomplished lawyer and public servant, will be presented with the Honorary Order of the Coif. Klapper graduated from CU-Boulder’s law school in 1968 and has since enjoyed numerous accomplishments. She served as executive director of the Colorado Department of Personnel for two years, was a candidate for Colorado attorney general and served on the Board of Visitors and the Law Alumni Board of the law school. Klapper also received the George Norlin Award in 1986 and is now founder and managing principal of the Klapper Firm, which is focused on women-owned businesses. Jim Hightower, the keynote speaker, is a distinguished investigative journalist, editor, economist, broadcaster and publisher. Hightower was born in Texas and graduated from North Texas University with a degree in government. His vast accomplishments include serving as a legislative aide, working for the Rural Housing Alliance, founding and directing the Agribusiness Accountability Project and editing a biweekly news magazine, The Texas Observer. Hightower also had written numerous investigative articles concerning the impact of monopolies on farm and food policies and how new economic power affects hometown life in various ways. In 1979 he was given the Outstanding Journalist Award from the Texas Farmers Union. For two years he served as president of the Texas Consumer Association and as the Texas Agriculture Commissioner from 1983-91 he emphasized self-help and mutual cooperation rather than high-tech and high-cost solutions to economic dilemmas. It was during that time that Hightower chaired the National Democratic Party’s Agriculture Council and was recognized by “60 Minutes” and the National Journal. Hightower also has written several books including “If the Gods Had Meant Us to Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates.” He currently co-edits a monthly newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown, and publishes daily commentaries on his Web site. Seventeen faculty, staff and students will be honored with awards during the ceremony, including retiring Professor Dennis Hynes, the Lifetime Teaching Excellence Award; Professor Phil Weiser, the Teaching Excellence Award; and Eric Rothaus, the SBA-Sutcliff Award and the Meritorious Student Award. The CU School of Law is the number one state law school in the country and fourth overall for placing graduates in judicial clerkship positions. Out of the top 50 law schools listed in U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Graduate Schools, 2001 edition,” CU’s placement of graduates trails only Yale (46.3 percent), Harvard (27.1 percent) and Stanford (24.2 percent). CU’s graduate placement rate is 24 percent. The bar passage rate of CU law graduates was 90 percent in July 2000, surpassing the national average of 87 percent. The University of Texas School of Law’s Educational Quality Ranking lists the CU law school No. 25 in the nation, and U.S. News & World Report ranks the law school’s environmental program No. 5 in the nation. For more information call the CU-Boulder School of Law offices at (303) 492-8047 or visit their Web site at Share Share via TwitterShare via FacebookShare via LinkedInShare via E-maillast_img read more