Commencement Ceremony & Reception
- Ceremony: 10 a.m. Friday, May 11, Georgia State Sports Arena, 125 Decatur St., Atlanta, GA 30303
- Reception: Noon-2 p.m. Friday, May 11, College of Law, 85 Park Place NE, Atlanta, GA 30303
ATLANTA-Attorney General of Colorado Cynthia H. Coffman (J.D. ’91) will speak at Georgia State University College of Law’s Commencement and Hooding Ceremony at 10 a.m., Friday, May 11 in the Georgia State University Sports Arena, 125 Decatur St.
“I am incredibly honored to have been asked to speak at graduation,” Coffman said. “The education I received at Georgia State University College of Law provided me with a launching pad that took my legal career further than I ever imagined when I crossed the stage at my own graduation.”
Coffman, who ran for the Republican gubernatorial nomination in Colorado, was raised in small-town Missouri and graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia before moving to Atlanta in 1985. She worked in development for children’s hospitals and pediatric research for several years before earning her juris doctor degree at Georgia State Law.
“[Georgia State Law] was almost like a learning lab. The relationship between students and faculty was closer than I think in most law schools,” Coffman said. “The practice-based curriculum was good for me, because I’m not just a bookworm; I also learn by doing.”
After graduation, Coffman worked in the Georgia Attorney General’s office, defending the state’s juvenile justice system and Public Health Department. That led to an opportunity to work as a lawyer in finance and management services for the 1996 Centennial Olympic games. After the pipe bomb explosion in Olympic Park, her work there shifted to acting as the primary liaison for the victims and their families.
In 1997, she moved to Denver and began working for the Colorado General Assembly’s Office of Legislative Council. She staffed the Senate Judiciary Committee and assisted with a study of the state’s adult parole system. She then worked briefly private practice, before joining the Department of Public Health and Environment, first as director of legal and regulatory affairs, then as deputy executive director. She delved into environmental and health issues, including air and water quality, disease control and prevention, bioterrorism and emergency planning, and maternal and child health programming.
In 2004, Coffman was chief counsel to then Gov. Bill Owens. In 2005, Attorney General John Suthers selected her as chief deputy. When Suthers finished his term limit, Coffman, who was named Best Public Sector Lawyer in 2012, ran for attorney general. She was elected in 2014.
Since taking office, she has been dedicated to community outreach, opening the Office of Community Engagement to increase the public’s access to the office. She has also focused efforts on protecting consumers, preventing sexual assault and domestic violence, tackling the opioid epidemic and protecting public safety.
“My time at Georgia State instilled in me the value of service, and I hope to share with the graduates how service not only shapes strong lawyers, it forms active and engaged community members who can make a lasting impact,” she said.