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USC Gould celebrates Graduate & International Programs Class of 2024

Melissa Masatani • June 24, 2024
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Elizabeth Atlee (JD 1993), senior vice president and chief ethics and compliance officer of CBRE, gives keynote address


The USC Gould School of Law conferred 455 master’s degrees to the Class of 2024 during the Graduate and International Programs (G&IP) commencement ceremony on May 10 at the University Village Great Lawn.

The keynote address was delivered by Elizabeth Atlee (JD 1993), senior vice president and chief ethics and compliance officer of CBRE, and USC Gould Board of Councilors member. In addition to joking about an artificial-intelligence-produced first draft of her speech, she encouraged the graduates to understand that the world will change throughout the course of their careers and that they should not be afraid of it.

Keynote speaker Elizabeth Atlee (JD 1993) | Watch the address

“The world is constantly evolving,” she said. “Legal and business environments need to adapt or they will become irrelevant and we need to adapt as well. The foundational skills and knowledge that you have acquired in the esteemed G&IP program are invaluable but these skills are the beginning, they’re not the end. The challenge of today’s world and the opportunities of tomorrow will require you to keep learning, growing and evolving. Prepare for it and embrace it.”

The ethics and compliance officer also urged the graduates to think about their actions as they pursue success.

“Ethics and integrity are not a badge you wear, they are not just about following rules,” Atlee said. “They are about exercising judgment and taking actions that reflect your values and principles, doing the right thing even when no one is watching, even when it is difficult or unpopular. Ethics and integrity mean being accountable for our choices and being transparent and honest with others and ourselves.”

The G&IP Class of 2024 is made up of students from 41 countries across five continents, shared Franita Tolson, USC Gould Dean and Carl Mason Franklin Chair in Law. The Class of 2024 also represents the 22nd class for the Master of Laws (LLM); 19th class for the Masters of Comparative Law; the eighth class for the Master of Studies in Law and LLM in Alternative Dispute Resolution, and the Master of Dispute Resolution; the fifth class for the LLM in International Business and Economic Law; the fourth class for the LLM in Privacy Law and Cybersecurity; and third class for the Master of International Trade Law and Economics.

USC Gould Dean Franita Tolson addressed the graduates.

“We are all shaped by uniquely different experiences but still there are lessons to be gained from one another,” she said. “Your workplaces will be filled with a wealth of diversity: people who differ from you in thought and perspective, in personal background and cultural background, in personal goals and professional ambitions. These differences aren’t obstacles to overcome but opportunities to grow and learn. They present opportunities to cultivate mutual respect, understanding and compassion and our world can always use more of those things.”

The graduates also heard from student speaker Alice Yiyi Ma, who earned her Master of Laws degree.

Watch a full video of the Graduate & International Programs ceremony here.

View more photos of the USC Gould 2024 Graduate & International Programs commencement celebration here.

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