2024 Commencement Celebrates 200-Plus Graduates

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Members of the JD Class of 2024 first met one another at Orientation in 2021. Many of those early connections were in the first days of pandemic restrictions easing, classes and lectures required masks, and outdoor gatherings were encouraged. 

Together, they celebrated the end of their time as law students on May 17, 2024, at Albany Law School’s 173rd Commencement. 

The 231 graduates—202 Juris Doctor, 18 Master of Science, and 11 LL.M—crossed the stage and began the next step in their careers. 

In her first Commencement ceremony as Albany Law School’s leader, President and Dean Cinnamon P. Carlarne offered the graduates three simple but poignant pieces of advice.

“First, amidst all the chaos and hope that accompanies exams, Commencement, the bar exam, and your future plans, I hope that you will pause to reflect on all that you have accomplished and all of the people who have supported you along the way. 
Second, as you take your degree – and a law degree is a very powerful degree – as you take this powerful degree out into the world, remember that institutions of higher education and, in particular, law schools are anchor institutions in our democracy and that you represent the power of a legal education and, as you leave the halls of Albany Law School and begin your legal careers, you are the shapers and the sentinels of the rule of law. 
Third, I hope you will be ambitious and that you will embrace the audacity of hope in everything that you do.”

Commencement keynote speaker, the Honorable Elizabeth A. Garry ’90, Presiding Justice, State of New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Third Judicial Department, addressed the graduates with a reflection on her own time as a law student, now a judge, and all that came in between. 

“How do we treat the diverse and ever-changing groups and people of our nation with consistency, fairness, respect, and how do we uphold personal dignity amidst challenge, crisis and conflict?
How do we resolve those inevitable conflicts?
How do we measure and apply values in changing circumstances?
These questions confront every generation. Each and every one. In your law school training, and in the years ahead, as your education continues, you will find that you have the tools to address those questions. The Rule of Law. No one above it.
I urge you this - as you meet the challenges of life, strive always and above all to build and preserve your good character. It is the ONE thing in this life that is YOURS forever and always, the ONE thing that cannot be taken from you. The essence of a good life, a life well lived, is to hold and promote ideals, even or especially in the face of disappointment.
And do not stay or go along with cynicism - there is little gain and no joy in it,” she said. “In closing, one last thing I will share with you. My single daily life wish, stronger than any other, in the midst of all the things that I hope and pray for, is this: at the end of my days, in my last moments on this beautiful earth we are so lucky to share, what I want - what I want -is that I want to look back and say "It was a good run. I did my best.”
And so my parting wish and request for each of you: As you move into your life in the law, strive for virtue. Pick any virtue - pick them all - we all know them, make every one you can your dear friend, and constant companion.
Doing so will ensure that your one wild and precious life is one well lived. Have a good run. Do your best. My daily wish, for us all.”

Following the conferring of degrees, Class President Natalie Turney addressed the class.

“Let us remember the relationships that we created with our 1L seat buddies, our moot court partners, and our fellow editors on the journals. Let us never forget the professors  we TA’d for, the faculty and staff who assisted us planning events, nor the family and friends back home who gave us love and support while we embarked on our law school journeys,” she said. “So, let us cherish and nurture more relationships in the next stage of our lives. Let us invest our time and effort into cultivating meaningful relationships with the clients  who seek our guidance, the attorneys  who become our adversaries, and those  who will come after us as we become their teachers and mentors.”

Turney also presented the 2024 Friend of the Class Award to Professor Dan Bollana ’16.
Dean Carlarne also shared the faculty award winners for the 2023-24 academic year. 

Excellence in Scholarship
Professor Ciji Dodds

Excellence in Service
Professor Jaya Connors

Excellence in Teaching
Professor Raymond Brescia



173rd Commencement - Class of 2024