Mt. Ulla’s Horton graduates from Campbell University School of Law

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 6, 2024

RALEIGH — Susannah Hope Horton of Mt. Ulla is among the record 173 graduates Campbell University’s Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law conferred Juris Doctor degrees on May 10, during its 46th hooding and graduation ceremony at the Martin Marietta Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Raleigh. 

Horton, who was a member of The Order of Barristers, was awarded The International Academy of Trial Lawyers Award which is given for distinguished achievement in the student advocacy program.

“Standing here in my 11th year as your dean, I have enormous confidence in the superb quality of our legal education program,” Dean J. Rich Leonard told the graduates. “You are ready.

“I hope you leave here with a fervent commitment to the rule of law, that it is only through belief in and loyalty to our common system that our problems can be fairly addressed. I hope you understand that truth cannot be manufactured but is objective, and no process has ever been better at finding truth than our legal system. As you spread out across big firms and small, big cities and small hamlets, private, public, academic and corporate positions, I hope you leave here as warriors for democracy and for justice.”

North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Paul Newby, a popular longtime adjunct professor, was the commencement speaker. He told the graduates they are entering the practice of law just as the state of North Carolina’s 50-year-old court system is moving online with the use of electronic filing, with the goal of providing greater access to justice. 

“My court has begun doing live streams, and we have been able to get more efficient because justice delayed is justice denied. These are my guiding principles. What are yours? What is the reason you chose law? You’re obviously very bright. Studies show your generation wants to make a difference. You want to earn money, but you want to truly make a difference. You want to leave things better than they were. Surely, I try every day to do that with treatment courts and always considering, ‘How can we help children?’”

Nottingham Law School Deputy Dean Matthew Homewood, on behalf of Nottingham Trent University in the United Kingdom, bestowed six master of laws (LL.M.) degrees to current students, attorneys and judges.

Valedictorian Chase H. Freeman of Pine Knoll Shores told his classmates, “We have all received a calling to provide counsel to those in need. As Professor (Richard) Bowser would say, we have gone through the liturgy of law school. We should always be civil. Our highest calling is to love and serve others in all that we do … we should never cease in our pursuit of knowledge. As we transition from students to attorneys we need to remember to seek out others and we must express our gratitude for those who helped us on this journey whether it is a family member, a friend or a mentor. We need to remember to reach out and thank them. As Campbell lawyers, we must be worthy of the calling we received. Class of 2024 we did it!

Student Bar Association President William Ashley Sparks of Mount Airy gave the invocation, praying, “Give us grace, mercy and understanding to help us navigate our legal careers … we pray we make our families proud, we make Campbell Law proud and we make You proud.”

Assistant Dean of Student Life, Pro Bono Opportunities and Belonging Regina Chavis ‘20 gave the benediction, saying, “Help us to do justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with You to help us serve and to help us to love our neighbors as ourselves.”