Saint Mary's Names Renown Photographer Michael Collopy And Esteemed Judge Kandis Westmore 2018 Commencement Speakers

Two extraordinary people—one, a renowned photographer recognized for his moving images documenting the faith works of Mother Teresa, and the other, a guardian of justice in the federal courts of Northern California—will address undergraduate and graduate and professional studies students at the 2018 Commencement ceremonies of Saint Mary's College of California.

Michael Collopy ’82, an award-winning portrait photographer, peace advocate, and Saint Mary’s alumnus, will deliver the Commencement address for the College’s undergraduates. The Honorable Kandis A. Westmore, who serves as a magistrate judge for the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, will offer the Commencement address to Saint Mary’s graduate and professional studies students.

More than 600 students will receive their diplomas at the Undergraduate Commencement on Saturday, May 26, 2018, at 9 a.m. at SMC Stadium. An estimated 550 students will receive diplomas at the Graduate and Professional Studies Commencement on Sunday, May 27, 2018, at 9:30 a.m. at SMC Stadium.


2018 Undergraduate Commencement Speaker Celebrated Photographer Michael Collopy '82Celebrated as one of the nation’s preeminent portrait photographers, Michael Collopy has gained worldwide recognition for his commissioned photographs of hundreds of public figures, including six U.S. presidents and 37 Nobel Peace Prize laureates. From photographing Mother Teresa's mission in Calcutta to the Rolling Stones in France, his photo assignments have taken him around the world and feature an unlikely mix of politicians, human rights activists, and entertainers such as Bono, George Clooney, Penelope Cruz, B.B. King, Paul McCartney, Carlos Santana, and Frank Sinatra.

“Michael Collopy is a remarkable individual,” said Saint Mary’s President James Donahue. “He is not only a gifted photographer of nationally and internationally known public figures, he is rightfully recognized as an unrelenting promoter of peace. His moving and faith inspired documentary images of Mother Teresa and dozens of Nobel Peace Prize laureates are testimony to this recognition. We are extremely proud to have this outstanding alumnus address Saint Mary’s graduating class of 2018.”

Collopy's photographs have been published worldwide in numerous books, magazines, and newspapers, and on CD covers. However, the Saint Mary’s alumnus is perhaps best known for promoting peace through his camera lens. His critically acclaimed photographic documentary “Works of Love Are Works of Peace,” which grew out of his 15-year friendship with Mother Teresa and profiled the work of her Missionaries of Charity, was chosen as one of the top coffee-table books of 1996 by USA Today. A second book, "Architects of Peace,” features photographs and personal statements from 75 of the world's greatest peacemakers. And after the tragedy of September 11, he collaborated on The Peacemakers Speak, a website profiling reactions from living Nobel Peace Prize laureates in the aftermath of the attacks on the U.S. The website is preserved in the archives at the Library of Congress.

Collopy, who maintains a strong connection with the College and has photographed Saint Mary’s student volunteer efforts in challenged Bay Area communities, said he looks forward to addressing the class of 2018. "I have tremendous faith and confidence in the future of our world under the stewardship of our graduates,” said Collopy. “I have been a witness to the courage of these students, who display a remarkable ability to lose themselves in the service and unconditional giving of others.”

A San Francisco native, Collopy is the son of internationally known graphic artist George Collopy. He is a self-taught photographer whose enthusiasm for the arts led him to meet and spend time with luminaries such as Ansel Adams and Richard Avedon, who offered artistic advice and encouraged him to pursue a professional career in photography. Collopy earned his undergraduate degree in fine arts from Saint Mary’s in 1982.


2018 Graduate and Professional Studies Commencement Speaker, The Honorable Kandis A. Westmore.The Honorable Kandis A. Westmore was appointed as a magistrate judge for the United States District Court for the Northern District of California in 2012. She is assigned to the Oakland Division. She served as a law clerk with the Contra Costa County Public Defender’s Office before beginning her legal career at an Oakland-based boutique law firm specializing in plaintiffs’ civil rights litigation.

She joined the Oakland City Attorney’s Office in 1999 as a deputy city attorney. During her 13-year tenure with the Attorney’s Office, she advised municipal agencies and litigated code enforcement and drug nuisance abatement cases. Westmore also served in the Litigation Division as both a trial attorney and a law and motion attorney, where she filed suit on behalf of the City of Oakland and defended the City and its employees on a wide range of matters in federal and state trial and appellate courts, including civil rights, personal injury, inverse condemnation, labor and employment, and complex litigation.

"U.S. Magistrate Judge Kandis Westmore is widely acknowledged for her integrity in the administration of justice in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California," said President Donahue. "We are truly fortunate to have her deliver the address for Saint Mary’s 2018 Graduate and Professional Studies Commencement. I believe our graduates will benefit greatly from her thoughtful insights.”

Judge Westmore said she holds Saint Mary’s commitment to civic engagement and social justice in high esteem and is honored to deliver the College’s Commencement address. "I am humbled by the invitation to address students at Saint Mary's Graduate and Professional Studies Commencement ceremony, and I look forward to meeting all of the new leaders of our communities and nation."

Judge Westmore has been publicly recognized by community organizations, the City of Oakland, and elected officials for her contributions and service to Oakland and its residents. Prior to taking the bench, she served as president-elect of the Alameda County Bar Association (ACBA), and volunteered for the ACBA Volunteer Legal Services Corporation’s pro bono program representing low-income individuals in family law cases. She currently serves as a member of the Northern District's Community Outreach Committee and on the court’s Conviction Alternatives Program. She is also the immediate past president of the Earl Warren American Inn of Court.

Judge Westmore received her BA from the University of California, Berkeley in 1989, and her JD from the University of San Francisco School of Law in 1997, all while working full-time and being a wife and mother of two young children.


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The Saint Mary's College of California experience inspires learning that lasts a lifetime. For more than 150 years, the College has provided students with a rigorous education that engages their intellect and spirit, and awakens a desire to transform society. Guided by the Christian Brothers, the Catholic Church's oldest order dedicated exclusively to teaching, the College enrolls more than 4,000 students in undergraduate and graduate liberal arts and business programs. For more information visit Saint Mary's College at and just 23 miles east of San Francisco.