May 27, 2011
In her address to the Class of 2011, Dean Martha Minow praised the students’ accomplishments at HLS and their vast array of skills and achievements. But as they prepared to receive their diplomas, she emphasized the importance of one skill in particular, urging them to “cherish your talent for asking good questions.” [Read Dean Minow's remarks (PDF); see video below.]
To make her point, Minow, a renowned scholar and interdisciplinarian, drew upon a source that might not be associated with the HLS curriculum, an episode of the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation, to the delight of Trekkies and the uninitiated alike in the audience. Minow recalled an episode from the cult TV series that demonstrated the power of asking the right question, in a legal proceeding and well beyond.
“Indeed, the questions asked by Harvard Law School’s class of 2011, now and in the future, will define law and leadership in the years to come,” she said. “Your influence reflects what Harvard Law School is and who you are and who you will become. I simply ask you to use your influence to better your communities and the world,” she concluded.
View video of Dean Minow's speech:
The graduating class of 2011 was treated to a surprise appearance by Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg ’56-58, who told graduates she “invited herself” to their graduation. Earlier in the day, during morning exercises at Harvard University, Ginsburg was one of six recipients to receive an honorary degree from Harvard University. Fellow honorand Plácido Domingo, the acclaimed Spanish tenor, sang the end of the conferral to Ginsburg.