Judge Thomas I. Vanaskie ’78 addresses Penn State Law Class of 2012
May 14, 2012
Celebrating the Class of 2012, the Honorable Thomas I. Vanaskie, United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and member of The Dickinson School of Law Class of 1978, addressed the graduates and hundreds of their friends and family members at commencement on May 12.
Judge Vanaskie implored the graduates to be dreamers and believers. “I know beyond a reasonable doubt that you are dreamers and believers. You chose law school because you believe that an education in the law will prepare you to make a positive difference in the lives of others. Today one of your dreams is fulfilled. The diploma you receive is more than a written memorial of the dream fulfilled. That diploma is a passport to opportunities that are not even imaginable at this time.
“Never stop believing in the power of a dream. Dream large and believe passionately. It has been said that what you can conceive in your mind and believe in your heart you can achieve with effort. I call on you, the Class of 2012, to be dreamers and believers,” Vanaskie said.
Since 2010, following nomination by President Barack Obama and confirmation by the United States Senate, Judge Vanaskie has served as a circuit judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, the nation’s second highest court. From 1993 until his elevation to the court of appeals, Judge Vanaskie served as a district judge on the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania and as chief judge from 1999 to 2006. He is the Chair of the Information Technology Committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States. He is a former member of the Judicial Conference of the United States and the Board of Directors of the Federal Judges Association.
Rebekah Saidman-Krauss ’12 was one of the graduates selected by her class to speak. During her address, Saidman-Krauss reminded her classmates how the two-location unified system, the only unified two-location law school approved by the ABA, has helped them grow. “In addition to the relationships that we have developed with one another at our primary location – whether that be Carlisle or University Park, we have also gotten to know our counterparts at the opposite location. We have taken classes together using our video-simulcast system … We have seen the strength of this system, and we know its potential. Through this technology, we are able to learn and to grow from our differences. And this has been one of our advantages.”
The ceremony recognized 228 J.D. and LL.M degree recipients comprised of students from across the United States and from 17 other countries. Four of the J.D. graduates also earned joint degrees from other Penn State graduate schools.
Commencement ceremonies were held in University Park and Carlisle, Pa. simultaneously. The two locations were interconnected by high definition audiovisual telecommunications to enable audiences at each campus to see and hear the entire event in “real time.”