SMC Names Celebrated Photographer Michael Collopy and the Honorable Kandis A. Westmore as 2018 Commencement Speakers

The theme of the Saint Mary’s 2018 Commencement ceremonies could very well be peace and justice. The two speakers selected to address the College’s undergraduate, graduate, and professional studies students—renowned photographer Michael Collopy ’82, recognized for documenting the work of Mother Teresa; and the Honorable Kandis A. Westmore, crusader for justice in Bay Area courts—exemplify the pursuit of those goals to promote the common good.

An expected 540 students will receive their diplomas at the Undergraduate Commencement on Saturday, May 26, 2018, at 9 a.m. at SMC Stadium. An estimated 536 students will receive diplomas on Sunday, May 27, 2018 at the Graduate and Professional Studies Commencement at 9:30 a.m. at SMC Stadium.

About Michael Collopy

Michael CollopyCelebrated as one of the nation’s preeminent portrait photographers, Collopy is known for a portfolio that includes an unlikely mix of politicians, celebrities, and human rights activists, including the Dalai Lama, Children's Defense Fund President Marian Wright Edelman, actor George Clooney, former President Bill Clinton, former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev, musicians Frank Sinatra, Bono, BB King, Carlos Santana, and many others.

However, the Saint Mary’s alumnus is perhaps best known for promoting peace through his camera lens as the creator of Works of Love Are Works of Peace, a photographic journal that grew out of his 15-year friendship with Mother Teresa, and Architects of Peace: Visions of Hope in Words and Images, a collection of 75 portraits of “peacemakers,” including 16 Nobel Peace Prize winners and dozens of others who have contributed to a more peaceful and just world.

“I’m interested in people who are making a mark and leaving a legacy,” Collopy told Saint Mary’s magazine in a 2012 interview. “It doesn’t have to be a celebrity. Each of us can do something. Each of us is of incredible worth.”

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. In addition to exhibiting his work in the College’s Museum of Art, Collopy has been recognized by SMC for his commitment to the promotion of peace. In 2014 he received the Meritorious Service Alumni Award, which is presented to an alumnus/a who has exemplified the mission of Saint Mary’s through a commitment to service in his or her own community or at the College.

About Magistrate Judge Kandis A. Westmore

The Honorable Kandis WestmoreThe 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.

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.