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Commencement 2012: 'The Law is a Powerful Weapon'

Commencement_graduatesOn May 25, Seton Hall Law celebrated The Seton Hall Class of 2011, 312 graduates in all, celebrated its Commencement at the Prudential Center. Members of the University, Law School Faculty, and Boards of Regents and Visitors joined in. Seven members of the Seton Hall Law Class of 1962 also celebrated the 50th anniversary of their graduation, joining the faculty and administration on the dais and receiving special certificates. Hon. Ryan Crocker, Ambassador to Afghanistan, delivered the Commencement address and received an honorary degree from Seton Hall Law.

View photos on Flickr here.

We feature excerpts from the remarks given at Commencement this year. Click on the links to read the full speeches:

Father Nicholas Gengaro, Chaplain of Seton Hall Law, offered the Commencement Invocation:

Commencement_Rev_Nicholas_Gengaro2Lord, our God, these years of law school for our students are a time when they participate in building the house of their chosen profession. May they graduate from this phase of their lives not merely technically skilled, but also more advanced in the way of understanding. May they discover wisdom in the pursuit of justice. Read the Invocation here. >>

Peter N. Larson ’74, Chair of the Seton Hall Law Board of Visitors, welcomed the Class of 2012 and their families:

Commencement_Peter_LarsonAll of us on the Board of Visitors know that your graduation today opens a door to a multitude of opportunities: whether in private or public practice, clerking, in government roles, in legal functions in companies, or in executive positions with companies and foundations. You have been blessed with a superb education at the Law School: An education that goes well beyond the legal to provide high level capabilities in sorting the important from the mundane in a skilled search for solutions which would elude those of other educational backgrounds. Read the Welcome address here. >>

The Honorable Ryan Crocker, Ambassador to Afghanistan delivered the Commencement address, “Lessons from a Long War”:

Commencement_Hon_Ryan_Crocker_and_Dean_Hobbs“I have made several trips to Montgomery, Alabama to visit the Southern Poverty Law Center. There I was reminded that the struggle for civil rights and against hatred in America is by no means over. Nor is it exclusively a Southern problem. One of your faculty, Brenda Saunders Hampden, has been a hero in that struggle since her early teens. That great campaign against hate and discrimination goes on to this day and it is a reminder that in this country and around the world you don’t get what you justly deserve; you get what you are willing to fight for.

And the law is a powerful weapon. Use it wisely and well, for the benefit of your fellow citizens and this great nation. There is nothing more important for a stable, just and democratic society than respect for the rule of law…” Read the full Commencement address here. >>

Desiree Leigh Grace ’12, who was selected by her classmates as the 2012 Student Commencement Address, delivered her address:

Commencement_Desiree_Leigh_GraceJust as each of our paths to reach law school was different, and each of our paths navigating through law school was different, so too will our paths from this day forward be different. There is no way to know exactly where we go after today. But what we do know is that we’re qualified and empowered. We know that whatever path we choose, we’re capable of accomplishing great things and making meaningful change. Today is the day that we celebrate that power. Read the Student address here. >>

Andrew Van Houton ’12 presented the Benediction:

Commencement_Andrew_van_HoutonWe are grateful, Loving G-d, that You placed us in a community that shared in our happiness, comforted us in our sorrow, and accommodated all of our individual needs, whatever they were. Indeed, we are humbled by the acknowledgment that our achievements would not have been possible but for Your good grace and Seton Hall’s dedication to our maturation. What we are eternally thankful for, however, is the invaluable lesson imparted to us by the unique juxtaposition of Seton Hall’s demonstration of compassion and the study of law. Read the full Benediction here. >>