Law School Holds 131st Commencement
Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Natalie Hudson ’82 highlighted some of the privileges and the responsibilities of being a lawyer during her keynote address at the Law School’s 131st Commencement ceremony on Saturday.
“The law is unquestionably a powerful vehicle for change in our society,” Hudson said. “Thus, you have the skill and the means to challenge the many systemic inequities that still exist in our nation and that impede the realization of that more perfect union. In addition to the power to engineer fundamental societal changes, you can also make profound differences in the individual life of a client.”
Hudson also encouraged graduates to actively engage in pro bono work as lawyers. “Find what speaks to you, and then act. When you do that, you reflect the very best of this noble profession,” she said.
More than 1,400 friends and family were on hand at Northrop to witness a little more than 200 students in the Law School’s J.D., S.J.D., LL.M., and Master of Science in Patent Law programs graduate on a cool and overcast spring day.
Dean Garry W. Jenkins said that reflecting on the Class of 2019 and its time at the Law School makes him optimistic about the future. “The world needs our special brand of lawyer-leaders—astute problem solvers, consensus builders, with a generous helping of Midwestern values and common sense,” he observed.
Three faculty members were named as recipients of prestigious Stanley V. Kinyon Teacher of the Year Awards:
- Professor Fionnuala D. Ní Aoláin, a University Regents Professor; holder of the Robina Chair in Law, Public Policy, and Society; and faculty director of the Human Rights Center at the Law School;
- Associate Professor Perry Moriearty, who teaches criminal law and juvenile justice, and co-directs the Child Advocacy & Juvenile Justice Clinic; and
- Adjunct Professor Garrett Mulrooney, who has taught in the Law School’s legal writing program since 2008.
Delivering the LL.M. class address, Silvie Rohr ’19 of Berlin, Germany said: “Liberty, justice, equality, diversity, these are just words, and words cannot bring change, but we can. And change is needed now more than ever. I believe in democracy; I believe in the right of self-determination; and I believe in the rule of law. And I think it is our responsibility as the young generation to stand up, to speak up, and to fight on for values we believe in.”
In the J.D. class address, Veena Tripathi, the daughter of immigrants from India, shared her parents’ wisdom that hard work and success are not just for you, but also to uplift those around you. “This belief that the work isn’t for you but for those around you is the driving force behind our responsibility as lawyers,” Tripathi said. “It is the belief that hard work is a requirement, even when an accolade is not waiting for you on the other end. It is the faith in yourself and your goals that drives you forward. It is the belief that whatever is on the other end of your struggle is greater than what you are leaving behind.”
Wrapping up the program, Jenkins gave the 2019 grads one final piece of advice: “Go out into the world, do well, and do good.”