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On May 18, 2018, Albany Law School celebrated 118 graduates at Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs, New York.
Before receiving their degrees—114 J.D.s, three LL.M.s, and one M.S.—the Class of 2018 received encouraging words from President and Dean Alicia Ouellette. "We started together—you were my first class as dean and president," she said. "I am so proud of how far we all have come together."
Dean Ouellette told the graduates that, with their knowledge and skills obtained at Albany Law, they are well-prepared to "speak up, speak out, listen to those with whom you disagree, solve problems, and use law to fight the good fight."
Watch the full ceremony here
"You will soon use your degree to do amazing things in this world," she said. "You will be the voice of the disempowered, inspirational leaders, and champions for justice. You will represent clients, advocate for causes, solve thorny legal problems, and create thoughtful policy. The world needs you more now than ever."
The keynote address was delivered by the Honorable Michael J. Garcia ’89, Associate Judge of the Court of Appeals, New York's highest court.
Judge Garcia held numerous
high-profile positions in both the private and public sectors. His
posts before joining the judiciary included U.S. Attorney for the
Southern District of New York and lead ethics investigator to FIFA,
soccer's international governing body.
Garcia spoke about his "favorite" alumnus, Robert Jackson, Class of 1912, noting
that the political conflicts emerging around the world at the time of Jackson's Commencement speech in 1941, was a similar
time to today's shifting world order and tension. He emphasized Jackson's commitment to the "rule of law," quoting his closing statement: "May you never falter in the faith that a better world order
can be established and that the philosophy of the law can lead the way to it."
After Alexander Loy ’18's rendition of the national anthem, James
Hacker '84 called to order his first Commencement as Chair of the Board
of Trustees, remarking on the importance of the day, calling "high
school easy, college fun, and law school hard." • Honorary Doctor of Laws degrees were conferred
on Edward P. Swyer, President of the Swyer Companies and a strong
advocate of the law school's public interest work, and Alexander
Hamilton (posthumously), one of the nation's founders who studied and
practiced law in Albany. Hamilton himself made an appearance, played by
Jean-Remy Monnay of the Soul Rebel Performance Troupe, and Douglas
Hamilton, Alexander Hamilton's fifth great-grandson, accepted the
• Emma Tiner ’18, valedictorian and editor-in-chief of the Albany Law Review, introduced Judge Garcia, who was also valedictorian of his class and a member of the Law Review.
Annual faculty awards were presented to: Professor Melissa Breger for
Excellence in Service; Professor Patrick Connors for Excellence in
Teaching; and Professor Evelyn Tenenbaum for Excellence in Scholarship.
Three faculty members presented doctoral hoods to the graduates:
Professor Christine Sgarlata Chung, who was promoted to Professor of
Law; Professor Robert Heverly, who was promoted to Associate Professor
of Law with tenure; and Professor Patrick Connors, who was voted Friend
of the Class.
• Daniel Speranza, President of the Class of 2018,
presented the Friend of the Class award to Professor Connors and
announced the class gift of solar-powered charging stations for the
The 167th Commencement concluded with National Alumni
Association President Patrick Jordan ’02 welcoming the Class of 2018 as
the newest members of Albany Law School's alumni community.