133rd Commencement Address


Barbara Lagoa

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The Honorable Barbara Lagoa was presented an Honorary Degree from the University. Mark Rienzi, Professor of Law and Director of The Center for Religious Liberty, made introductory remarks prior to the presentation. Judge Lagoa serves on the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. Upon her appointment, she became the first Hispanic woman and the first Cuban-American woman to serve on that court. She shared that same distinction as a justice on the Florida Supreme Court and, before that, as a judge, including as the chief judge, on Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal during her thirteen years of judicial service to the state of Florida. Prior to joining the bench, Judge Lagoa practiced in both the civil and criminal arenas. Following the presentation, Judge Lagoa delivered the 2022 Commencement Address. “Graduations are unique among the milestones of our lives — they celebrate our past accomplishments while also anticipating our future. And the future at times can be ... quite surprising,” Judge Lagoa shared. She then reflected on six points that will help the graduates succeed in both their professional and personal lives: change is inevitable, appreciate the present, the race is long, be strong, be kind, and say ‘yes.’