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Ohio Northern University Pettit College of Law to celebrate 2015 commencement ceremony

Apr 30, 2015

Ohio Northern University’s Pettit College of Law will celebrate its 2015 commencement ceremony in the ONU Sports Center on Sunday, May 17 at 2 p.m. Approximately 100 students will be awarded degrees, and Daniel DiBiasio, Ohio Northern University president, will preside.

The ONU Sports Center is scheduled to open for the commencement exercises at 12:30 p.m. A musical prelude will begin at 1:30 p.m., followed by the procession of faculty and Juris Doctor candidates.

In addition to Juris Doctor degrees, ONU will confer LL.M. degrees to 10 lawyers from transitional and emerging democracies that have completed a yearlong course of intensive study in the Democratic Governance and Rule of Law program. There also are five students who concurrently earned a J.D. and LL.M.

Frances Hakes, a 1994 ONU graduate of the Pettit College of Law, will deliver the commencement address. Hakes Consulting provides advice, counsel and expert witness services to firms, law enforcement, governments, industry and others on national security and the protection of children. Christopher Katherman, a graduating third-year law student from York, Pa., will provide the student address.

From January 2010 to March 2012, Hakes served as the country’s first national coordinator for child exploitation prevention and interdiction, a post appointed by the U.S. attorney general and housed in the Office of the Deputy Attorney General at the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. As the first coordinator, Hakes was responsible for creating the inaugural U.S. strategy addressing child sexual exploitation, titled “The National Strategy for Child Exploitation Prevention and Interdiction,” which was submitted to U.S. Congress in August 2010. After submitting this first National Strategy to Congress, Hakes was charged with its implementation. To accomplish this, she led multiple working groups across federal, state and local agencies tasked with increasing collaboration, recommending new approaches and technologies, and formulating new and innovative training.

In addition, Hakes oversaw all child exploitation efforts at the Department of Justice, testified before the U.S. Congress and the United States Sentencing Commission, and briefed senior officials at the White House on child exploitation issues. Prior to this appointment, Hakes was a prosecutor for more than 15 years, serving first as an assistant district attorney specializing in crimes against children and then as an assistant U.S. attorney specializing in technology-facilitated child sexual exploitation.

Hakes earned her bachelor’s degree in political science, with a global policy studies certificate, from the University of Georgia. She earned a Juris Doctor from Ohio Northern University.

Honorary degrees will be presented to Hakes and longtime law faculty member Albert Baillis.

Baillis fought with distinction in Italy, France and Germany during World War II. After the war, Baillis received his AB and JD from Case Western Reserve; he finished in the top 10 percent of his law school class and was inducted in the Order of the Coif. After admission to the Ohio bar in 1950, Baillis worked for the Bureau of Code Revision in Columbus until 1952. He next engaged in private practice in Cleveland before joining the legal department of the New York Central Railroad in 1954. In 1956, Baillis joined the law faculty of Youngstown University.

In 1957, Baillis joined the law faculty at Ohio Northern, where he rapidly advanced to professor of law in 1962. During this period, he spent three summers as a graduate student at New York University, which awarded him a Master of Laws (LLM) in 1962. Baillis served as a part-time county court judge from 1975-79, during which time he received two awards from the Supreme Court of Ohio recognizing his excellence in judicial office. He served as president of the League of Ohio Law Schools, president of the Ada Kiwanis Club, and editor of the “Real Property Section Newsletter” of the Ohio State Bar Association. He served on numerous university and law school committees; in particular, he chaired the important law school Promotion-Retention Committee for several years. Baillis was named as the first holder of the Fisher Chair for excellence in legal scholarship and teaching in 1984. He also served the University as acting dean of the College of Law from 1975-77.

Richard Bales, dean of the Pettit College of Law, will give remarks. Assisted by members of the tenured law faculty, Bales will next place the academic hood upon each candidate, which will be followed by DiBiasio’s presentation of the diplomas.

A reception for graduates and families will take place in the College of Law immediately following the ceremony.

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