For Albany Law School’s Class of 2019, the calls to action were clear: Stay publicly engaged. Continue to make a difference. Change the world for the better.
“You already know in your hearts what it means to be a public citizen,” said New York Chief Judge Janet DiFiore, applauding the graduates’ 52,000-plus hours of pro bono and public service contributions. Her address at Albany Law School’s 168th Commencement on May 24 was a clarion for continued service and a warning against disengaging from civic and professional duties. “Every ounce of that effort and every sacrifice was worth the investment, because you are now prepared—in heart and in mind—to make a positive difference in our profession, in our celebrated system of justice, and at a time when we are, indeed, faced with many uncertainties,” she said. “We are waiting for and anticipating your leadership. And our expectations are running very, very high.”
In total, 151 graduates walked across the stage representing the law school’s J.D., LL.M., and master’s programs. “As we like to say around here, We Are Albany Law,” President and Dean Alicia Ouellette ’94 said. “We are the lawyers and the leaders who seek to make a difference. We are the voices of the disempowered. We are inspirational leaders. We are champions for justice. And the world needs you—the ‘We’ in We Are Albany Law—more now than ever. … Class of 2019, you are ready to show the world the impact one can make with an Albany Law School degree.”
Chief Judge Janet DiFiore accepted an honorary Doctor of Laws degree, saying, “I am certainly most grateful and proud to receive such an honor, particularly from this excellent law school which has, for the past 168 years, trained and inspired new lawyers to make a positive difference in our society, and which, to the benefit of all of us, has enjoyed such a close and mutually supportive relationship with our state’s highest court—the Court of Appeals.”
Professors Stephen Clark (Excellence in Service), Jenean Taranto (Excellence in Teaching), and Melissa Breger (Excellence in Scholarship) received enthusiastic ovations as recipients of the law school’s annual faculty awards. Legal assistant Sherri Meyer received the Friend of the Class Award, which was presented by class president Elizabeth Murad ’19.