Leo graduate and prominent criminal defense attorney Thomas Anthony Durkin served as commencement speaker when the Class of 2014 graduates from Leo on Sunday, June 1, 2014.


The ceremony took place at St. Margaret of Scotland Church, 99th and Throop streets.

A second-generation Leo Man, Durkin graduated in 1964. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame and his law degree from the University of San Francisco. He began his legal career as an Assistant United States Attorney specializing in the prosecution of gang crimes. In 1984 he moved into private practice, opening Durkin and Roberts with his wife, Janis Roberts. The firm is committed to “the principle of defending the rule of law, civil liberties and international human rights by providing the highest quality representation to individuals accused of serious crimes.”

“An appreciation for social justice and the rights of man is an integral part of a Leo education, and Tom Durkin had dedicated his professional life to those ideals,” Leo President DAN MCGRATH said in announcing Durkin’s selection. “Tom’s values are our values. He has been a great friend to Leo. We’re honored to have him address our graduates and their families.”

Mr. Durkin called upon the newest Leo graduates to make a strong commitment to social justice and to reach back and help others the way they had been helped throughout their four years at Leo. Brotherhood, Durkin said, is the foundation on which Leo was built and is the binding agent that keeps it strong today. Service to others, he said, is an essential part of being a Leo Man. Durkin was interrupted by applause several times as his message clearly resonated with the audience.

The church at St. Margaret of Scotland was filled to capacity as 38 Leo graduates received their diplomas. MICHAEL BAXTON, graduating with a 3.87 GPA, addressed the audience as class valedictorian. SHONDEL THOMPSON (3.24) also spoke as president of the student body. Baxton is attending St. Xavier University, while Thompson is a student at Illinois State.

For the sixth consecutive year, Leo has achieved a 100 percent graduation rate with the senior class. Way to go, Lions.

Baxton and Thompson were among 12 graduates who received individual awards during the ceremony. The complete list:

  • * William J. Koloseike Gold Medal for Athletics: THEODORE HOPKINS
  • * Bishop John R. Gorman Gold Medal for Religion: TERRON BELL
  • * Michael L. Thompson Gold Medal for Music: JEREMY CLARK
  • * Donald F. Flynn Gold Medal for History: SHONDEL THOMPSON
  • * Dr. James J. Ahern Gold Medal for Science: MICHAEL BAXTON
  • * Thomas and Mary Owens Gold Medal for Math: MICHAEL THOMAS
  • * Dr. Stafford L. Hood Gold Medal for English: ANTHONY ANDERSON
  • * Matt Lamb Gold Medal for Fine Arts: MICHAEL THOMAS
  • * Dr. James Glos Gold Medal for Foreign Languages: CHARLES HARRIS
  • * David Fitzgerald Gold Medal for Citizenship: MORTON FOSTER
  • * Andrew J. McKenna Gold Medal for Leadership: NNEQUEZ BENNETT
  • * Frank W. Considine Gold Medal for Social Justice: ALFRED TOWNSEND

The members of Leo’s Class of 2014:

  • Chandler Alexander Adams
  • *+ Anthony James Anderson
  • *+ Michael Baxton
  • *Terron Camus Bell
  • *+Nnequez Jabari Bennett
  • Caleb Trenton Carter
  • *Jeremy L. Clark
  • Michael Anthony Conley
  • Kaleb D. Davidson
  • James Davis III
  • Sydney B. Dorsey III
  • Morton Avery Foster
  • TyShawn Loudia Guyton
  • Martez D. Hampton
  • Charles Edward Harris
  • *+Darnell A. Harris
  • Thomas J. Harris Jr.
  • Marquelle Lawrence Lee Hicks
  • Theodore Frederick Hopkins
  • Durman Zolly Jackson IV
  • Darrell Deion Johnson
  • Solomon C. Jones
  • Winston Lee Jones
  • Juvan Andre Lewis
  • Safeer Khalaf Martin
  • *Riley D. McClendon
  • Brandon D. Pitts
  • Malik L. Prince
  • Daniel D. Scott
  • Dennard Eugene Seals-Holmes
  • *+Michael Andrew Thomas
  • *Shondel Maurice Thompson
  • Alfred Darnell Townsend
  • Carlin Trevon Turner
  • Les Wolfgang Wiggins
  • Jermon M. Williams

*–honors graduate
+–National Honor Society