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For Albany Law School's Class of 2019, the calls to action were clear: Stay publicly engaged. Continue to make an impact. Make the world a better place.
Speaking to graduates and their families at Saratoga Performing Arts Center, the Honorable Janet DiFiore, Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals and the State of New York, applauded the class for its "extraordinary" commitment in
contributing 52,000-plus hours of pro bono and public service work. "You already know in your hearts what it means to be a public citizen," she said.
Chief Judge DiFiore's address at Albany Law School's 168th Commencement was a clarion for continued service and a warning against disengaging from civic and professional duties. She told the class always to remember the power and the responsibility that comes from being a citizen professionally trained in the law—to be a leader and a force for good.
"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."
Her message echoed that of President and Dean Alicia Ouellette, who stressed in her remarks the importance of being an Albany graduate. That is, a professional whom people count on.
"As we like to say around here, We Are Albany Law," Dean Ouellette 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."
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In total, 151 graduates walked across the stage to receive their J.D. (137), LL.M. (4), and M.S.L.S. (10) degrees.
"Throughout the school, across all programs, online and in our classrooms, we have seen you grow," Dean Ouellette said. "Class of 2019, you are ready to show the world the impact one can make with an Albany Law School degree."
Other highlights of the May 24 ceremony included:
Per tradition, the president of the National Alumni Society personally welcomed the newest members of the Albany Law School NAA. "Since I can remember, I've lived by three simple words: do great work," said NAA President Earl Redding '03. "I trust you will do great work and be great stewards and ambassadors for the law school. … I look forward to hearing about your future successes."