Southwestern Law School Los Angeles, CA

Betty Trier Berry '15, Southwestern's First Graduate

btberry.jpgMore than 15,000 students from all walks of life have graduated from Southwestern since 1915 and have gone on to successful law practices and careers around the country and internationally. This is evidenced by the first graduate, Betty Trier Berry, a trailblazer in the legal profession.

Ms. Berry was raised in New York. She received her A.B. degree from Barnard College and a Masters in Pure Science (Mathematics) from Columbia University. She would later go on to complete a Ph.D. in Education at the University of Southern California and to serve as president of two girl's preparatory high schools.

She actually began her studies at Southwestern after having completed one year at USC Law School - and also after having passed the California Bar exam! Ms. Berry went on to become the first woman to serve in a public defender's office when she joined the Los Angeles County Public Defender's Office, which was the first office of its kind in the country, and she is featured in several halls of fame as a result.

"Betty Trier Berry's" (imagined) remarks at Southwestern's Centennial Town Fair and
Founders Day Celebration, August 25, 2011

Well Dr. Schumacher - you said 100 years ago, "This is just the beginning!" - and my word! You were right!

I was so proud to be Southwestern's first graduate - but that distinction means so much more to me now - to be a part of the history of such an extraordinary school. I am truly overwhelmed. And I am particularly proud to see so many of my fellow women - I understand we are even the majority now! My heavens - that's as it should be!

It is also so wonderful that Southwestern continues to be an incubator for trailblazers. As Dean Garth mentioned, this law school has made history from the very beginning and continues to do so 100 years later, both the people and the programs.

I am so very excited to be here - and proud beyond words to be connected to all of you for eternity as a member of the Southwestern community.

Live well, be well and carry on our special Southwestern legacy with dignity and honor!