School of Law News
Law Commencement 2012
Posted May 28, 2012
Nearly 200 new graduates of Western New England University School of Law were challenged to put their hard-earned skills to work to change the world, even as they enter a profession that is changing with dizzying speed. The calls came as the School of Law awarded 164 juris doctor degrees and 24 master of laws degrees during Commencement ceremonies held Saturday, May 19 at Springfield Symphony.
“You determine how you undertake your work, and to what greater good and purpose you dedicate yourself,” said President Anthony S. Caprio. “You have acquired the precious tools to make your calling fulfilling, stimulating, and satisfying, and one that is not solely self-centered or self-serving.”
It was a theme echoed by Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Associate Justice Barbara A. Lenk, who received an honorary degree and delivered the Commencement address.
(L-R) Chairman of the Board of Trustees Kevin S. Delbridge, University President Anthony S. Caprio, Commencement Speaker Barbara A. Lenk, and School of Law Dean Arthur R. Gaudio
“You didn’t have a say in the world you inherited. But you can make a major impact on it – a positive impact on the world your children will inherit. The Law School has given you the tools,” said Lenk, who serves on the Western New England University Board of Trustees. “In a Constitutional Democracy like ours, all lawyers are defense lawyers; we defend the principles of law and justice against all comers,” Lenk added. “Lawyers give voice to the guarantees of our federal and state Constitutions. Not because we’re smarter or more virtuous than others, but because it’s the essence of our profession to do so.”
Lenk urged the graduates not to despair over the fact that they are entering the legal market at a particularly difficult time. “The law offers limitless possibilities for professional satisfaction and personal success. That things are so difficult in the profession now does not say anything about how things will be in the years to come.”
School of Law Dean Arthur R. Gaudio reassured graduates that there are many ways in which lawyers use their degrees – from traditional legal careers to the worlds of business and government. “What you learned in law school is how to think about and solve problems,” said Gaudio. “Every day your professors demanded that you be focused and clear in your thinking. That focus and clarity of thought can assist you in solving problems no matter the context.”
Student commencement speaker Raquel E. Babeu pointed out to her classmates that their time on the Western New England campus has transformed each of them. “Whatever your story was prior to law school – today our stories are intertwined,” she said. “Whatever challenges may lie ahead of us, always remember this day, because today represents not only our transformation into law school graduates, but also represents proof of our resilience and determination to succeed.”