Golden Gate University School of Law featured Contra Costa County District Attorney and alumna Diana Becton as the keynote speaker at its recent commencement program held at Davies Symphony Hall.
In her inspiring commencement speech, Becton reminisced about her own GGU School of Law graduation in 1985, when commencement speaker Chief Justice Rose Bird counseled graduates to “do what is right, even if it is unpopular.” Echoing that advice, Becton continued, “Whether you become a district attorney, go into private practice, become an advocate for public interest, or a public defender, you have a unique opportunity to take on big problems, to stand up for the voiceless, to seek truth, and to seek justice and equality for all.”
Becton is the first woman, first African-American and first person of color to serve as Contra Costa County district attorney since the office was established in 1850.
She was sworn in as the county’s 25th district attorney, after being appointed by the Board of Supervisors in September 2017, and was subsequently elected in 2018.
Before that, she served as a judge in Contra Costa County for 22 years, where she was elected as presiding judge.
Among her many awards, she was honored earlier this year with the Golden Gate University Judith McKelvey Distinguished Service Award for her trailblazing contributions to the legal profession, along with two other GGU Law graduates who also serve as local DA’s— (Nancy O’Malley, JD ’83, Alameda County District Attorney, and Lori Frugoli, JD, ’89, Marin County District Attorney.)
Golden Gate University School of Law Dean Anthony Niedwiecki, JD, LLM comments, “GGU has always been dedicated to diversifying the profession and opening up legal education to those from underrepresented groups. At GGU, we were admitting women much earlier than other institutions, and Diana comes from that period. She is one of the new progressive DA’s in the country who seeks to use this position to make meaningful changes in racial justice, social justice, and prison reform. As an outstanding role model, she perfectly exemplifies the kind of forward-thinking lawyers that GGU Law produces.”
Established in 1901, Golden Gate University is a non-profit private institution that has been helping adults achieve their professional goals by providing high quality, practice-based undergraduate and graduate educational programs in law, taxation, business and related professions in a learning environment that embraces professional ethics, diversity and innovation.