On Saturday, June 7, more than 200 graduates, friends, faculty and staff were at the Law School campus to celebrate Reunion 2014. Keynote speaker Beau Billingslea ’69 regaled guests with anecdotes and recollections of his days as a UConn football player, during his time at the Law School at 1800 Asylum, which he referred to as a building that is like “a cafeteria,” his days on the West Coast during his career acting in television shows and movies, and doing voiceover work for such notable shows as “Cowboy Bebop” and as the series narrator for “Suicide Missions and Hero Ships” on The History Channel.
Billingslea, who attended with his wife Cecelia, reflected on his days growing up in Meriden, Connecticut and commented on the value of family in shaping a person’s character. "[Our parents] didn't yell at us. All of you parents out there know how hard that would be. I found out as a parent," said Billingslea. "They fostered our self-esteem to a fault." Billingslea talked at length about playing football as an undergraduate at UConn and how those experiences made him a life-long UConn supporter. "What a great day, coming to UConn, coming to law school," said Billingslea. "I grew up as a jock and all of a sudden I felt like 'I'm a serious guy!' I've got something going on now. It's not my muscles, it's my brains!"
Before introducing Billingslea and formally welcoming guests to Reunion 2014, Dean Timothy Fisher spent a few minutes telling guests about the state of the Law School amid today's changing environment for legal education. "This is a challenging time in legal education," commented Fisher, "But we are better off than the vast majority of law schools in the country for a number of reasons. First and foremost is just the strength of this school and reputation of our teachers, students and you, our alumni, and the great work that you've done throughout your careers." Fisher went on to comment about the changing face of the law school's curriculum, including more of a focus on interdiscplinary work. "We are finding new ways for our law faculty and our students to collaborate with scholars in other disciplines and to find where the law is a crucial team player in advancing opportunities throughout the University."
Earlier in the day, Associate Dean for Admissions Ellen Rutt ’90 conducted tours of campus, many guests watched the Belmont in hopes of a triple crown win and others attended talks given by graduates, faculty and guests. Associate Professor of Law and William T. Golden Scholar James Kwak, delivered comments about the 2008 financial meltdown, changes in the financial system, and the political and regulatory decisions that made the financial crisis possible. Kwak is co-author, along with Simon Johnson, of White House Burning: The Founding Fathers, Our National Debt, and Why It Matters to You. He also blogs on “The Baseline Scenario” and “The Atlantic” about contemporary financial issues.
Mark A. Cohen ’79 was on hand via Skype to join fellow graduates, Steven M. Greenspan ’85 and Daniel L. Gottfried ’04, and guest William H. Clendenen, Jr. for a talk on the “New Models of Legal Service Delivery.” Rounding out the panels were Katherine Kane, executive director of the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, and Professor Molly Land and Gladstein Chair and Professor of Anthropology and Law Richard A. Wilson, who commented on “Media and Human Rights: From Uncle Tom’s Cabin to Tahrir Square.”
The schedule was punctuated by dinner and dancing under the tent in the quad as guests gathered to catch up with long-time friends, to make new acquaintances and network with others in the Law School community. “This year’s cluster reunion approach provided opportunities for the Law School’s Alumni Association to attract a wider group of graduates to the Law School for our annual event,” said the Hon. Ingrid L. Moll ’99, president of the Law School’s Alumni Association. “The atmosphere was alive with graduates catching up with friends from their own classes and with others who were either a year before or behind them in school. Reunion is a great way for graduates to stay connected to the Law School. As a member of the Law School’s Alumni Association board, I’d be remiss if I did not encourage all of our graduates to join us for reunion in the future.”
Upcoming Graduate Gatherings: