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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The Penn State Law alumni family grew this month, as 143 J.D. students, 118 LL.M. students, and four S.J.D. students joined its ranks following commencement exercises on Saturday, May 11, in Eisenhower Auditorium in University Park.
The class of 2019 took time to celebrate how far they have come, while looking forward to the future, acknowledging that the community at Penn State Law was a key part of their success.
This year’s ceremony included words from members of the graduating class; Penn State Law and University leaders, including University President Eric Barron; and the 2019 featured commencement speaker, the Honorable Tanya R. Kennedy, a Penn State alumna and Supreme Court Justice of New York.
The overarching theme of the day: the encouraging community that Penn State Law offers.
Dean Hari Osofsky opened with reflections of all that the class has accomplished in its three years in University Park, including assisting veterans exposed to toxins while in service; serving as advocates for detained families seeking asylum; filing 20 trademark and 17 patent applications; and winning the 2019 Willem C. Vis International Moot Court Competition.
“The class of 2019 embodies the Penn State values of integrity, respect, responsibility, discovery, excellence, and community, and they have already accomplished so much in their time at Penn State Law,” said Osofsky. “We can’t wait to see where our graduates – who are both accomplished professionals and impressive human beings – go from here, and the wonderful ways that they will lead and contribute.”
LL.M. student speaker Prince-Alex Oluebube Iwu, an attorney who came to University Park to study from Nigeria, recounted the past year of getting to know his fellow classmates.
“No matter how tough each of us are, we’re all better off with each other. As we leave this place, let’s not forget one another,” said Iwu.
On looking ahead to the future, he offered this advice: “You can’t control outcomes, but you can control what you put into something. Life is waiting – get ready.”
Justice Kennedy opened her remarks with echoed feelings of belonging, sharing that it is always a pleasure to her to return home to Happy Valley and the Penn State family. She went on to note that the law is a vehicle to right wrongs, which graduates now have at their disposal.
“The question is who will be bold and fearless enough to speak truth to power; who is in the best position to uphold and defend the constitution, to provide a voice to the voiceless? It’s you,” Kennedy said. “This is hashtag ‘a call to action’; this is your charge.”
She went on to present her own “Top 10 List” for the graduates, which encompassed wise words to live and work by, like “be authentic and credible; acknowledge your mistakes; adhere to high ethical standards; be grateful; and take time for yourself.”
The day’s final featured speaker was Stormie Mauck, representative of the J.D. class. She cited her young daughter as her inspiration to persevere through law school and reflected on her three years with her fellow students.
“Most of us took time to make memories that will get us through the hard work that lies ahead,” Mauck said. “If you’re resilient, there is nothing standing in your way.”
The ceremony ended with closing remarks from Dean Hari Osofsky and the singing of the Penn State Alma Mater.
Graduates and their guests, faculty, and staff all gathered to celebrate the milestone with a reception at the Lewis Katz Building following graduation.
Catch the video of the day’s ceremony here and follow our social media channels for more highlights of the Class of 2019 and happenings at Penn State Law in University Park.