On May 21, 2009, more than 680 J.D., LL.M., And J.S.D. students celebrated the culmination of intensive legal training at Columbia Law School. Joining the graduates at the ceremony were representatives of the class of 1959, graduation speaker Joseph “Gray” Davis Jr. ’67, And family members and friends.
“Today is one of the high points of your life, a day you will always remember,” said Dean David M. Schizer in his remarks to the Law School’s 148th graduating class. “But the day is still bittersweet because you are graduating at a complicated time for the global economy and for the legal profession.”
However, Dean Schizer continued, graduating classes throughout the history of the Law School have faced, and ultimately conquered, various social, political, and economic challenges, proving that success is possible, even in times of adversity. “There is always a demand for people with extraordinary talent, like all of you.”
Among the members of the Class of 1959 who attended the graduation ceremony was Richard Goldberg ’59. His daughter, Suzanne Goldberg, a clinical professor of law and the director of the Sexuality and Gender Law Clinic at Columbia Law School, was presented with the 2009 Willis L.M. Reese Prize for Excellence in Teaching, an award each graduating class bestows on a professor for outstanding instruction. The graduates also honored Professor Olatunde Johnson, naming her the Public Interest Professor of the Year at the Social Justice Program’s Public Interest Honors Dinner, held on the eve of graduation ceremonies.
Before the graduates were individually recognized, class-elected speaker Andrew LeGrand ’09 encouraged his classmates “to usher in the dawn of a new day. . . . We must argue the case for a better tomorrow,” he said. “We must persuade the jury of society that the possibility exists for a better country and a better world. And our work must begin with service, because we cannot change the world if we do not serve it.”