Approximately 200 students crossed the stage at Albany Law School’s 163rd Commencement, held May 16, 2014, at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
“We’re going to miss you,” said President and Dean Penny Andrews when greeting the class. She went on to emphasize four concepts – rejoice, reputation, respect, resilience – to help guide the graduates as they considered their careers in law.
Tom Vilsack ’75, the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and a former two-term governor of Iowa, delivered the keynote address to the Class of 2014, as well as family, friends, faculty and staff.
“I can’t help but end this speech by telling you how valuable Albany Law School is to me,” said Secretary Vilsack. “Albany Law School equipped me to be a good lawyer.”
“This school gives people opportunity,” he said.
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After Secretary Vilsack’s address, Professor Vincent Bonventre introduced the Hon. Sheila Abdus-Salaam and the Hon. Jenny Rivera, associate judges on the New York State Court of Appeals, who both received honorary doctor of laws degrees.
Dean Andrews presented David Schraver, the 116th president of the New York State Bar Association, with the Dean’s Medal for his exemplary service to the legal profession.
Natalia Detko, president of the Class of 2014, addressed her classmates and other attendees near the end of the ceremony, announcing the class gift of nearly $10,000 for Courtyard improvements and the Friend of the Class award to Professor Patrick Connors.
“What you have gained today is more than a piece of paper. It is much more powerful,” said Detko, who immigrated to the United States from Poland with her mother as a child. “Now, you can see the big picture.”
The 163rd Commencement closed with National Alumni Association President Robert Rausch ’94 welcoming the Class of 2014 as Albany Law School’s newest alumni.