Commitment to rule of law distinguishes U.S., graduates told
101st Commencement ceremony features retired chief justice of Indiana Supreme Court
(Boston, Revised-5/30/12) New England Law | Boston: Hon. Randall T. Shepard, chief justice of the Indiana Supreme Court (retired), spoke to this year’s graduates of his confidence in both their economic future and their investment in higher education. “This nation has created more opportunity for more people than any other in history,” he said in remarks before a full house in Boston’s ornate Citi Performing Arts Center, Wang Theatre on Friday, May 25, 2012.
Chief Justice Shepard, who recently stepped down as the nation’s longest-serving state supreme court chief justice, also celebrated the essential role played by lawyers in maintaining the nation’s strength and character. He noted an observation by Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the Federal Reserve, that what truly elevates America above other nations is our commitment to the rule of law.
New England Law | Boston’s one-hundred-and-first Commencement was highlighted by the awarding of 340 degrees. The Dean Arthur E. MacLean Awards for Academic Excellence were presented to Robert M. Buchholz ’12 and Guinevere E. Woolstenhulme ’12, the top-ranked students in the day and evening divisions, respectively. A complete list of Commencement 2012 awards is available online.
"These are challenging times in the world, but we are part of a great tradition at New England Law," declared Woolstenhulme. She saluted the school’s proud heritage as the only law school established exclusively for the education of women, sharing that bar examiners told early graduates of what was then Portia Law School that they should “go home and wash the dishes.” She prophesied that the Class of 2012 will bring honor to the law school. “Like earlier graduates, we will not give up. We will work together.” (Click for Woolstenhulme's complete Commencement remarks.)
Buchholz also reflected on challenges, including those already surmounted by graduates, as well as others that surely await them. He wished his classmates well and recalled the sage words of Thomas Jefferson, who said, "I am a great believer in luck, and I find that the harder I work the more luck I have.” (Click for Buchholz's complete Commencement remarks.)
The ceremony was punctuated by poignant tributes to Nathaniel S. Downing ’12, whose sudden passing in April shocked and saddened the law school community. His mother, Pamela Downing, accepted the Dean’s Award and juris doctor degree magna cum laude on Nate’s behalf, prompting standing ovations.
Chief Justice Shepard was presented with an honorary doctor of laws degree, and honorary degrees were also awarded to the Honorable Carmen M. Ortiz, United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts (doctor of laws); Benaree Pratt Wiley, principal, The Wiley Group (doctor of humanities); and Fletcher H. Wiley, principal, PRWT Services, Inc., of counsel, Bingham McCutchen LLP, chairman and CEO, The Centaurus Group, LLC. (doctor of laws).