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Penn State Law celebrates 2010 Commencement

Penn State Law celebrates 2010 Commencement

Celebrating the Class of 2010, the Honorable Thomas J. Ridge '72 urged graduates to, as founder George Washington advised, "seek truth and pursue it steadily." 

"He had faith in my generation and in yours," he said. Reminding the class that the Constitution is our brand, he urged the class of future attorneys to "challenge and question" the nation's actions when they seem to diverge from the values of the Constitution and our moral system. 

"Hopefully we all agree that indefinite detention without some form of due process is unacceptable. It is not consistent with our value system," he said. "It diminishes our brand." 

Ridge was the first Secretary of Homeland Security, a two-term governor of Pennsylvania, and is a Dickinson School of Law alumnus. 

"Governor Ridge speaking here today reminds us of the potential of Dickinson School of Law graduates for good and important work," said Law School Dean Philip J. McConnaughay.

"Governor Ridge presented a positive message in light of the times," said Jaime S. Bumbarger '10. "He reminded us of pride in our country and in ourselves." Bumbarger was an articles editor of the Penn State Law Review and will clerk for The Honorable Fredric J. Ammerman '82 after graduation.

Later in the ceremony Ridge presented diplomas to his goddaughter Emily Elizabeth Mosco '10 and family friend Puja Khare '10.

Families Thanked

Candidate Kelly Howard '10 gave opening remarks. She began by thanking the assembled family and friends and mentioned that law students operate under a great deal of stress and often with little sleep. 

"Throughout the struggle there are many people and experiences that impacted the future attorneys you see before you today. Many of us wouldn't have made it through the first semester--the time when our stress levels reached their absolute peak--without Professor Kit Kinports telling us that our mothers would still love us no matter what happened during that first round of finals."

Howard served as president of the Student Bar Association and as comments editor of the Penn State Law Review and has accepted a position in the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office.    

J.D. and LL.M. Degrees Awarded

The day's ceremony recognized 183 J.D. candidates and twelve LL.M. candidates. Four of the J.D. graduates earned joint J.D./M.B.A. degrees from Penn State’s Smeal College of Business

The Class of 2010 is the 131st class to attend formal graduation ceremonies. Wrapping up its 175th anniversary celebration, the Law School has graduated more than 13,374 students during the course of its distinguished history. Graduates have included three U.S. senators; five governors; the first secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security; the first woman to serve as chief judge of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania; more than 100 federal and state judges; the founder of one of the nation’s leading law firms led by African-Americans; the first woman president of the Pennsylvania Bar Association; the first elected attorney general of Pennsylvania; and countless other leaders of the bar, bench, and their communities.

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