In her charge to the Class of 2015 at Stanford Law School’s graduation ceremony on Saturday, June 13, Dean M. Elizabeth Magill readily acknowledged, “This has been a hard year,” but she found reasons for optimism in the students receiving their degrees as she greeted the crowd of around 1,500 gathered in Canfield Courtyard.
She began by welcoming the parents and friends of the 192 students receiving doctor of jurisprudence (JD) degrees and the 75 students receiving advanced degrees. “Thank you for helping make these graduates who they are, thank you for supporting them, and thank you for sharing them with us. They are inspiring and funny and skilled and kind and charming and memorable and talented and smart and wise – all at once. We have been privileged to teach them and we are bursting with pride to be able to call them our graduates,” said Magill, the Richard E. Lang Professor of Law.
Many of those students and the dean herself wore black stoles atop their graduation robes, printed with the “Black Lives Matter” theme of numerous events, classes and programs held at the law school during the past year. It was a topic all of the speakers mentioned, while urging the students to build upon the training, practical experience and sense of community they had shared at the law school in order to tackle the problems that dominated the news in 2014-15.
Change the Question.
We have all had the experience of failing to find the solution. Then we change something about our perspective--we talk to someone new, change the focus, learn of an unusual example--and something emerges.
Before you know it, 25 years will have passed, and young people will be asking you, "How did you decide to spend your career?" Get your answer ready now, and then go do it.
Stand up for each other.
Remember that no matter how far your legal career may take you, across the country or around the globe, know that you have a home and a family here at Stanford.
Today, we become ambassadors.
Stanford taught us that there are still many things to do in terms of equality, even here in the US, where discrimination and injustice are still living challenges. I invite you to take this critical thinking back home and spread it.
We "made it."
We “made it” because we arrived at a place where excellence does not mean perfection; where ingenuity thrives and collaboration is encouraged. We made it because we learned from the great minds of our time, and put that learning to work to help our clients “make it,” too.
More than 1,500 people gathered in Canfield Courtyard on June 13, 2015 for the Stanford Law School Class of 2015 graduation ceremony.