Widener University School of Law awarded degrees to 302 graduates in a sunny ceremony on the Delaware campus lawn held Saturday, May 17.
“Widener has given us all the necessary knowledge and tools for success,” said extended-division valedictorian Christofer K. Bates. Both he and regular-division valedictorian Janine L. Hochberg addressed the class. “Our work as attorneys will be powerful because it will allow us to touch the lives of our clients in a myriad of ways,” Bates said.
Speaker for the ceremony was the Hon. Theodore McKee, judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, who was given an honorary degree. McKee urged the graduates not to become complacent. “When you leave here today, do not go quietly into the night,” he said. “You can make a difference whereever you are and whatever you do and I hope you win some victory for humanity.”
Widener University President James T. Harris III encouraged students from both campuses to be HEROes, or honorable, engaged, respectful and open to new ideas. “To the class of 2008, I know you possess the skills to be great attorneys and great leaders. When you face a difficult decision as an attorney, think of the definition of a hero,” he said.
Law Dean Linda L. Ammons told the graduates that as attorneys, they are leaders. “Lawyers have the awesome responsibility to change lives,” she said. “May your lives be filled with health and joy. May your careers prosper and take you to places you can only dream of.”
Ammons congratulated the 59 members of the class who, together, contributed nearly 5,000 hours of pro bono service during law school. She also presented the Douglas E. Ray Excellence in Faculty Scholarship Award to Professors Jean M. Eggen and David R. Hodas.
Student Bar Association President Sean H. McCray announced that the class gift was a $1,300 donation to the LRAP fund and an engraved clock for the student lounge. He presented the outstanding faculty award to Associate Professor Paul L. Regan, who accepted in a speech that was both encouraging – “You are so ready to do this” – and sentimental – “It’s a privilege that I can walk these halls with you folks and share in your education.”