Gov. Keating to Deliver Commencement Address At TU Law Hooding Ceremony May 11

Wednesday, May 08, 2002

Published on 5/8/02

First master’s in Native American Law to be awarded.

When Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating addresses the graduates at The University of Tulsa College of Law, he’ll be speaking to 113 juris doctorate recipients and to the first person to receive the school’s master’s degree in American Indian and indigenous law.

The hooding ceremony is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 11, at the First Baptist Church in downtown Tulsa.

John Iiyama Smith, one of nine sons of a Shinnecock Indian father and Japanese mother, is the first in his class of seven to complete the LL.M. program. The other candidates are enrolled in part-time studies or are continuing their research.

Smith earned a degree in business administration from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio; and a law degree from St. Mary’s School of Law. He spent 11 years working in career services at St. Mary’s and the University of Baltimore School of Law before deciding to seek his master’s in this new specialty.

“This was the only program I’d leave my job for,” Smith said. “I’m excited to be the first, but I couldn’t have done it without the support of the faculty, staff and classmates who cheered me on.”

This master’s program trains lawyers from around the country and the world in the issues critical to understanding and representing American Indian and other indigenous peoples.