UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The Penn State Law class of 2018, with 126 J.D. candidates, 74 LL.M. candidates, and 6 S.J.D. candidates, celebrated their achievements and looked to the future at their commencement, held Saturday, May 12, in Eisenhower Auditorium in University Park. Graduates took the opportunity to look back on all they have accomplished while also looking ahead with excitement at what is to come.
This year’s ceremony featured words of wisdom from members of the graduating class, law school and University leaders, and The Honorable Wilma A. Lewis, Chief Judge of the District Court of the U.S. Virgin Islands. Dean Hari Osofsky recounted the many achievements and milestones of the class, highlighting that the J.D. class of 2018 is the first to graduate from the separately accredited Penn State Law in University Park. She also encouraged them to recognize the responsibility that they have to their community.
“You are going to enjoy a unique opportunity and responsibility to contribute to justice and the social good,” said Osofsky. “This law school will take great pride in your future efforts and achievements as we do in the amazing contributions you all have already made in your time here at Penn State Law.”
Kiran Manokaran, who came to Penn State Law from India to pursue a master of laws degree, spoke on behalf of the graduating LL.M. students. He noted that while they all began their year of study as very different people from around the globe, they ended up as nothing less than a family.
“We have earned this moment, which we will cherish for the rest of our lives,” said Manorkaran. “I am the person I am today because of all of you. I am because we are, and we are Penn State.”
Judge Lewis opened her remarks by offering her congratulations, and thanking Penn State Law for the warm welcome. “Now, there will be an additional voice from way down in the Virgin Islands rooting for the Nittany Lions,” she said.
Lewis noted the many differences between her first job after law school in 1981 and the first jobs that the members of the class of 2018 would experience, with laptop computers, the internet, and electronic filings altering the way professionals work in the legal field. But, as she went on to explain, the importance of finding a professional moral compass early on and making it a constant companion and guide through the many trials and tribulations that will undoubtedly meet each graduate in their careers remains unchanged. She added that the key values needed to build a foundation of honor and success are entrusted to each individual’s personal care and cultivation.
“Let the world know that your honesty, your integrity, and your credibility are not up for grabs, and will not be compromised,” said Lewis.
The final remarks of the event came from John Malchow, a member of the J.D. class and the 2017-18 Student Bar Association president. Malchow fondly remembered his time at Penn State Law, and called on his fellow graduates to make a difference in the world, and to stand up for those who are unable to stand up for themselves. He recognized that Penn State Law would forever be a part of each of their stories.
“No matter where we go, no matter where we all end up, some part of us will always remain in Happy Valley,” said Malchow.