Widener University School of Law awarded degrees to 124 graduates in a formal ceremony at The Forum in Harrisburg that celebrated their accomplishments and the people that supported them through their law school journey.
“By virtue of our degree we will immediately be put in a position to change lives,” class valedictorian Michelle Lynn Groleau said. “Each of us can and will make a difference in the world.”
Commencement was held Sunday, May 18 at the building in the city’s Capitol Complex. The 17th graduating class heard from the Hon. Roger Gregory, judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, who was given an honorary degree. Gregory said the students have an obligation to share the knowledge and talents they developed during the law school process. “Live your life so that somebody doesn’t want to let you down,” he said.
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 also presented the Douglas E. Ray Excellence in Faculty Scholarship Award to Professor John C. Dernbach.
Kymberly Rose Leyva, second vice president of the Student Bar Association, presented a donation to the school’s general scholarship fund as the class gift. Leyva also gave the outstanding faculty award to Professor Michael J. Cozzillio, who accepted in a thoughtful speech that ended to lively applause.
“As you leave here and embark upon this journey,” Cozzillio said, “tell ‘em that Widener sent ya and they’d better bring their A game.”