Waters will receive an honorary degree for her role in overturning her brother’s wrongful murder conviction
The 132 members of the Earle Mack School of Law at Drexel University’s Class of 2011, who have helped the School reshape legal education, will receive their Juris Doctor degrees on Thursday, May 19, 2011 at 3 p.m., during a ceremony at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. The commencement will celebrate both student achievement and the innovative approach Drexel University has taken to preparing the next generation of legal professionals.
Attorney and champion of justice Betty Anne Waters will deliver the keynote address and receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree. Waters successfully overturned the murder conviction of her brother in 2001, and enabled him to walk out of prison after 18.5 years. The remarkable story became the subject of the 2010 film, "Conviction," starring Hilary Swank. Drexel President John A. Fry will be joined by founding Dean Roger J. Dennis in officiating at the commencement ceremony.
In order to exonerate her brother, who was convicted of murder and sentenced to life without parole in 1983, Betty Anne Waters earned her GED, then her bachelor's degree, a master's in education, and eventually a JD degree from Roger Williams University in Rhode Island. While working with the Innocence Project, a national litigation and public policy organization dedicated to exonerating wrongfully convicted individuals, Waters unearthed evidence that proved her brother’s innocence.
Since then, Waters has resumed her work at Aidan’s Pub in Bristol, R.I., where she is general manager and co-owner. She continues to do pro bono work with the Innocence Project to help others who were wrongfully convicted and advocate for legislation and other reforms.
Providing students with an education that is both infused with experiential learning and academically rigorous has been a guiding principle since the law school’s inception. Graduates and Drexel officials will reflect on the School’s progress and the achievements of the students from across the United States.
Founded in 1891, Drexel is the nation’s 14th largest private university and is ranked second among national universities in the U.S. News list of “Up-and-Comers.” Drexel is widely recognized for its focus on experiential learning through its co-operative education program, technology and use-inspired research.
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