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Commencement Celebrates Accomplishment and Ideals

May 27, 2010

The school’s second commencement ceremony, on May 26, offered the Class of 2010 a moment to savor a three-year quest that had been completed and the start of a new journey in the legal profession.

The event started on a literal high note, as graduate Haley Conard – trained as a professional opera singer – performed the National Anthem.

Dean Roger Dennis commended the graduates for providing more than 13,000 hours of pro bono service and said they will be outstanding lawyers.

“Your performance in class, in co-ops and clinics, and in a myriad of student-led activities amply demonstrates that,” Dennis said. “From our colleagues in the practicing bar, I constantly receive comments about your competence and maturity as budding professionals. You have already served many clients exceedingly well.”

Drexel University Interim President C.R. “Chuck” Pennoni conferred an honorary degree on American Bar Association President Carolyn B. Lamm, who urged the graduates to remember the power that they now have to help people, including the powerless and the unpopular. 

Class speaker Patrick Doran invited his 113 classmates to time travel to the year 2035, when one among them may be serving as a member of Congress, another as U.S. Attorney General, while another may be navigating “the iron maze of a supermax prison, meeting face to face with the condemned man whose habeas petition she is about to file.”

As they map their journeys that will take them in these professional directions, Doran said the graduates should recall the words of Supreme Court Justice Benjamin Cardozo:  Existing rules and principles can give us our present location, our bearings, our latitude and longitude. The inn that shelters for the night is not the journey's end.

Comparing the law school to an inn that provided shelter along with a legal compass, Doran said the graduates must strive to keep a moral compass before them, as they had for the last three years.

“We are in the community, throughout Philadelphia, providing direct client services,” Doran said. “Through all our work, we’ve built a brand, crafted and refined it, and have shaped our school in an indelible way. That is how we begin our journey towards that brilliant future of 2035.”

Jacqueline Lowthert, a member of the Class of 2009, sounded a note of optimism about the graduates’ job prospects, recounting how she’d become an associate at Halpern and Levy after initially being hired as a legal assistant through a temporary agency.

Lowthert urged the new graduates to network aggressively with classmates and fellow alums.

Members of the Class of 2010 both earned and conferred accolades, awarding the Carl “Tobey” Oxholm III Outstanding Contribution to the Earle Mack School of Law Community Award to both Mary McGovern, assistant dean of administration, and Kevin Oates, senior associate dean of students.

The graduates awarded the Dean Jennifer L. Rosato Excellence in the Classroom Award to Professor David S. Cohen.