Albany Law School celebrated the institution’s 19th President and Dean Cinnamon P. Carlarne and her commitment to leading the nation’s oldest independent law school into the future.
The investiture was held in the DeMatteo gymnasium at Albany Law School and was well attended by students, faculty, staff, alumni, and Dean Carlarne’s family, mentors, and friends.
Dean Carlarne outlined what drew her to Albany Law School, what she envisions for the future, and shared moments from her academic journey.
“Albany Law School creates the space for our community members to lean into who they are, what they know, what they hope for, while also being open to learning and evolving, and to understanding that the law touches each of us in our communities in distinct ways. And that law is never finished, but is always evolving. And this is the journey that I'm on with this community and the mission. I'm committed to creating a space of true learning and exceptional and transformative educational experience. A community of listeners and a community of intentional leaders. So, thank you to everyone for being here tonight and thank you to the Albany community. And may our journey together be one of learning, positivity, and progress,” she said.
“As members of a community today, I draw on Bell Hooks to center my thoughts about community and leadership, about what it means to be part of the Albany Law community and to be part of the small but powerful community of people who shape the rule of law and the opportunities and obligations that attend to being a member of these communities,” she said. “Albany Law is defined by our amazing people and the strength of our collective commitment to the school. This commitment to community is what brought me here, what motivates me and what we are all truly celebrating today.”
A keynote address was delivered by Garry W. Jenkins, President of Bates College. Jenkins, a longtime colleague of Dean Carlarne’s at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, was awarded an honorary Albany Law School degree before delivering his keynote message.
Jenkins, also a newly-minted institution leader, spoke about the idea of lawyers as leaders and how their education prepares them for leadership roles both in the profession and outside the practice of law.
“The legal profession has long been perceived by the public as comprising the public's problem solvers and leaders especially in public life. The next generation of great lawyers must not just be legal practitioners but also highly capable leaders. Leaders who are ready to operate in a constantly changing interconnected and interdependent world. Law School is about preparing students for the work of lawyers. Of course, that work entails analyzing cases, interpreting statutes, thinking on one's feet, advocating client positions, but frequently it also includes managing people, building trust, inspiring others to follow your lead,” he said.
“It is this law school’s great good fortune to have a new president and dean who is herself a brilliant lawyer-leader. Cinnamon does not wear the label of “leader” lightly—she inhabits it with her whole self, her whole heart, her whole brilliant mind. She is compassionate and utterly committed to students and colleagues. And she will, I know, model leadership in highly intentional and admirable ways throughout her tenure at Albany Law School.”
Other Albany law leaders and community members shared remarks and welcome wishes to Dean Carlarne:
“Whenever a new leader enters into a community, one never knows for certain how she's going to lead. For President Carlarne, however, the type of leader she would be was always hiding in plain sight. Her leadership style was as evident from her vast scholarly record and I submit to you that from that scholarship one can divine what we are starting to realize is the ‘Carlarne School of Leadership.’ What a review of that scholarship reveals are some key themes, even just some words and phrases that help provide some insight into who she is as a leader. Words like energy, ecosystem, stewardship, phrases like duty of care and what a perfect crystallization of President Carlarne. She's an energetic caring steward of our ecosystem, our community. One can look at the title of just one of these articles to get what I think is the essence of her tenure so far and which I am sure will endure,” said Associate Dean for Research and Intellectual Life Ray Brescia.
“Your charge is clear - make us a better law school. Help our students become great lawyers and leaders. Help our faculty excel in teaching and scholarship, and be the face of the law school with our alumni, your peers in legal education, and with business, industry and educational partners at home and abroad,” Dan Grossman ’78, Chair of the Board of Trustees.
“Since our first meeting with Dean Carlarne, and in the short time she has been with us, she has not only demonstrated these qualities but has exceeded our expectations. Dean Carlarne has been transparent in her communications, sought our opinions, and offered hers with humility. She has shown the staff the highest level of respect, instilling trust in our abilities. Her proactive initiatives clearly demonstrate her unwavering commitment to advancing Albany Law School toward the future,” said Joanne Casey, Director of the Career and Professional Development Center.
“Dean Carlarne wholly understands that diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging are not simply buzzwords, but the cornerstone of a thriving community. She wholly understands that being a good leader is more than just guiding this institution to success; but that it also means fostering an environment where there is actual value in differing opinions and perspectives and one where everyone is seen, heard and respected. Dean Carlarne has developed an institutional framework for everyone – students, staff, faculty, alumni, and community partners, alike – to feel empowered to contribute their best, knowing that their unique contributions are accepted, celebrated, and needed,” said Jermaine Cruz, Assistant Dean for Diversity and Inclusion.
“Although Albany Law alumni live and work far and wide, it bears noting that the majority of judges within the Capitol Region are proud alums. We share a deep and profound sense of connection and gratitude because this school was transformative in our lives. It gave us what we needed to serve the public and do this work we love. And of course, keeps on giving to students today!
Those of us who studied elsewhere have also forged connections with Albany Law School, due to the strong partnerships that have been established throughout the legal profession and the community.
As you take the helm of this institution that means so much to so many, it is my honor to welcome you, on behalf of my colleagues, and to offer support, best wishes, and congratulations,” said Presiding Justice Elizabeth A. Garry ’90, on behalf of the judiciary.
“On behalf of the Student Bar Association and the student body, I am pleased to offer this greeting to our new President and Dean Cinnamon Carlarne. I have had the privilege to work closely with Dean Carlarne this semester and I'm confident she will lead our school well. To be candid, I think there is a certain level of skepticism when any institution welcomes a new leader. Will this person fit in with the culture? How is our school going to change because of this person? However, Dean Carlarne has taken the time over the last few months to understand us students…From the beginning, Dean Carlarne was willing to participate, listen and get to know us. Dean Carlarne recognizes not only what makes us unique but also what unites us. Dean Carlarne shares a vision with our student leadership to solve problems through a student-centered lens. The Student Bar Association and the student body are excited to continue working with Dean Carlarne to build upon the strategic plan, ensure students are prepared for a meaningful career in the law and importantly find ways to seek justice in our society for those who have been so wrongfully denied it,” said Max Sevor ’24. Executive President of the Student Bar Association.
“No call here is ever left unanswered and what I admire most about Dean Carlarne is that she truly values the depth and loyalty of our community and this appreciation has not gone unnoticed. It has been heartwarming to see the student body, faculty, alums, and broader community welcome Dean Carlarne with open minds and open hearts. Although Dean Carlarne has been a part of our family since day one, it is an honor for me today on behalf of the student body to officially welcome her to our family,” said Isabella Napodano ’24, Student Trustee.