Graduates Lauded at 2017 UConn Law Commencement

Graduates in processional
Graduates Lauded at 2017 UConn Law Commencement
May 22, 2017
Hartford, CT

Author and journalist Emily Bazelon delivered the keynote address to a celebratory crowd of graduates and their families on May 21, 2017, at the 94th commencement at UConn School of Law.

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“Get to know people whose lives have been ensnared by crime, the victims and the perpetrators. Often they’re not as different from each other as you might think, and also not really different from you and me, standing here today,” said Bazelon, the Truman Capote Fellow for Creative Writing and Law at Yale Law School and a staff writer at the New York Times Magazine. “If you work with them, or better yet, get to know them as friends and neighbors, you’ll widen your own lens of perception.”

Dean Timothy Fisher told the graduates that the world needs them. “When you think about the best and worst places to live on Earth, what distinguishes them is whether the law is present, and whether the law is strong,” he said.

The audience roared with approval when Fisher quoted from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books, “As Dumbledore said to Harry, ‘It is our choices that reveal who we are,’” he said. "You have shown us who you really are, and you make us so proud.”

More than 150 students earned juris doctor degrees. Five students were recognized for dual degrees: Lara Marie Edmonds for a master’s in social work, Brittany Kaplan for a master’s in public administration, Cara Marie Passaro for a master’s in public health, and Ahmed Galal and Izick Vizel for masters’ of business administration.

The graduates included the first three to complete the new LLM, or master of laws, degree in Intellectual Property and Information Governance. They joined more than 50 other LLM graduates in the programs for Energy and Environmental Law, Human Rights and Social Justice, Insurance Law, and U.S. Legal Studies.

The student speakers, chosen by their classmates, were Alyssa Medalla for the LLM graduates, Benedict Daigle for the JD Evening Division and Ahmed Galal for the JD Day Division. The graduates also chose Professor Richard Pomp, who served as the chief marshal for the ceremony, to receive the Perry Zirkel ’76 Distinguished Teaching Award.