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President Penelope (Penny) Andrews delivered an address to graduating students and their families and friends at the University at Albany Graduate Commencement Ceremony, the institution’s main ceremony for all master's, certificate and doctoral candidates, held May 16, 2015, at SEFCU Arena.
"I am always struck by the feeling of pride that I see in the faces of parents and other loved ones in the accomplishment of the graduates. And I too share that pride," said President Andrews in her address, which took place the day after Albany Law School's Commencement. "As someone who has taught law for 25 years in several countries, I have witnessed how fearful and anxious students evolve into accomplished graduates."
President Andrews then advised the graduates to consider their long-term paths and talked about the characteristics of successful people, which she refers to as the six Rs: respect, reputation, responsibility, resilience, renewal and rejoice.
Now in her third year at Albany Law School, President Andrews' advocacy for indigenous populations, with a focus on women’s rights, has spanned numerous countries, including Australia, South Africa, Germany and the United States. Her most recent book is From Cape Town to Kabul: Rethinking Strategies for Pursuing Women’s Human Rights.
She is a frequent speaker and media resource on legal education, international human rights law, including women’s rights, and South African legal and constitutional issues. Earlier this year, she was named to Lawyers of Color's Fourth Annual Power List Issue, marking her fourth consecutive year on the compendium of “the nation’s most influential minority attorneys and non-minority diversity advocates.”
President Andrews grew up in apartheid South Africa, fighting for equal rights. An annual award in her name—The Penelope E. Andrews Human Rights Award—is given by the South African law school at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.