As John Irving wrote in The World According to Garp, "You only grow by coming to the end of something and by beginning something else." In mid-May each year, our graduates experience these two milestone events—the end of finals and the commencement of a career in law or business or public service—within days of each other.
Our commencement speaker this year was U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. In his speech, delivered at the beautifully renovated Northrop Auditorium, Perez offered this advice: "The only real failures in life are the failure to try or the failure to learn from your experiences." But he cautioned the graduates against letting personal ambition overwhelm the need for community. "If you blow out your neighbor's candle, it won't make yours shine any brighter," he said. By empowering others, he declared, "we can build a society where there is more access to justice, where your professional responsibility is translated into concrete results and concrete progress."
The Law School has recently seen other new beginnings, as well: the joint appointment of Carlson School Professor Paul Vaaler to the Law School faculty as holder of the John and Bruce Mooty Chair in Law and Business; the creation of the new Master of Science in Patent Law Program, which will launch this fall; the appointment of Ellen Anderson (‘86) as head of the University's new Energy Transition Lab; and the establishment of the Center for New Americans which will have an official launch this fall.
These landmark events would not be possible without your support. As we come to the end of both the fiscal year and our 125th anniversary year, please consider making a contribution to our GENERATIONS campaign. We are now at $66 million toward our $70 million goal. Your gift will provide more scholarships for students to offset the cost of their legal education. With your help, we can continue to light the candle for generations to come.
Congratulations to our graduates, and thank you to the more than 800 alumni and guests who attended alumni weekend events this spring.
Dean and William S. Pattee Professor of Law