In ceremonies held on June 4 and 5, the Harvard Law School Class of 2008 celebrated the end of one adventure and the beginning of many new ones.
In a June 5 diploma ceremony held on Holmes Field, Dean Elena Kagan '86, told the Class of 2008 to "be proud of what you've become, do what you love, give back to others." Kagan encouraged students to revel in the way their legal education has transformed their thinking. "You now see complexity where you once saw simplicity; you see grays rather than black and white. But this is to the good because the world is in fact complicated. And on many questions, only those who perceive it that way can make any real progress," she said. She also urged students to use these habits of mind to throw themselves into whatever has the greatest prospect of giving meaning to, and providing satisfaction and excitement in, their lives. "Do not settle. You are too good to settle. You will always be Harvard Law graduates, and that means you never need fear falling too far," she said.
"Dare every day to manifest your authenticity," said Cory Booker, the 36th mayor of Newark, N.J., in an address to the graduating class on June 4. "Our highest calling is not to emulate, but to look for truth inside ourselves and let it emanate," said Booker, who has worked to transform his city by reducing crime and increasing economic opportunity. Class Marshal Pascale Thomas '08 introduced the mayor as someone who "represents a new generation of political activists and leaders." She described how Booker lived in a public housing project and organized tenants to fight for improved conditions. In his address, Booker spoke of ancestors—enslaved people and sweatshop laborers—who did not yield as they chased after a vision. He asked, "Will we now stand in the gap between where America is as a nation and where we must go in the future if we are ever able to fulfill the largest visions for ourselves?"
HLS Professor Daryl Levinson was selected by students to receive the Sacks-Freund Award for excellence in teaching. Kathy Lovell, enrollment manager in the Registrar's Office received the Suzanne L. Richardson Staff Recognition Award. They're pictured with Jay Hebert '86 (right), president of the HLSA at Class Day exercises.
Taking their acts on the road
Three HLS professors delivered commencement addresses at other institutions this spring. Professor Laurence Tribe '66 spoke to New York University graduates at Yankee Stadium, and Professor Alan Dershowitz was the keynote speaker for CUNY's Baruch College graduates at Madison Square Garden. Professor Charles Ogletree '78 delivered the commencement address at Lincoln University in Chester County, Pa.
"Lincoln University's legacy is a clear lesson of struggle and progress, and let the nation count on you to move us forward."
—Charles Ogletree speaking to graduates about the importance of recognizing the historic legacy of famous Lincoln graduates such as U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall and poet Langston Hughes.
"Among my favorite sayings is one as true as it is trite. The only things you can take with you are the things you have given away."
—Laurence Tribe encouraging NYU graduates to embrace community service.
"Keep your pride, but without prejudice. Ethnicity without superiority. Heritage without hegemony. I believe it's possible to keep and use pride positively without undercutting the pride of others."
—Alan Dershowitz addressing CUNY graduates in May.
HLS Commencement by the numbers
|588||J.D. degrees awarded|
|168||LL.M. degrees awarded|
|10||S.J.D. degrees awarded|
|40||required pro bono hours to graduate|
|503||average hours committed to pro bono work per student|
|3,242||pro bono hours worked by Lam Ho '08|
|296,936||pro bono hours worked by the Class of 2008|
|159||duration of commencement, in minutes|
|61||high temperature in Cambridge on graduation day|
|36,364||HLS alumni worldwide|