J.D. Speaker: Mia Marie White
Thank you for the opportunity to speak today. I wanted to use this platform to honor our accomplishments and so I gave some thought to the inspirational quotes that helped me along the way. Unfortunately, what sprang to mind came from Winston Churchill who said, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” But that wasn’t exactly the message I was going for. So, I went back to the drawing board and discovered that what I have been most inspired by these past three years is all of you.
The hardest part about law school is that real life continues—real life doesn’t stop just because we’re here. And mastering that lesson is something that will continue for the rest of our professional lives.
On our very first day here as 1Ls, we were read highlights from an incredible list of varied accomplishments before school—which, to be honest, were a bit much--some of you were very intimidating people. Now, on our last day, we acknowledge and celebrate the things we’ve done during our time here. All that time I spent sitting in the Jerome Greene lobby- I got a chance to see a lot of you guys in action. I saw some of you become performers—in rock bands, as stand up comics, as bloggers and screenwriters. You won national competitions. Some of you fell in love… some of you fell in love with each other! Some of us suffered the loss of a loved one; some of us battled serious illness. Some of you started new programs and volunteered hundreds of hours of your time without credit. Some of you started families! And some of those new family members are here in the audience with us today! A few of you continued to work and even ran your own businesses. Now, this is not to say that if you haven’t done any of these things that today’s accomplishment is any less. The classes, the papers, the exams, the discourse—these are challenges deserving of their own merit. One thing that we all share in common is that we all made it!!!
This class has a personality, an energy and a real voice. It’s that spark that got us here in the first place. And that spark will lead us to our future success. We are in an era where following the pack doesn’t always lead to foolproof success, and, frankly, nor does it necessarily lead to personal fulfillment. We will have to get creative. Thankfully, you are some of the most impressive, creative people I know.
I want to say to you today, that we are more than just the false dichotomies of corporate or public interest. More than just transaction or litigation. Our potential goes beyond the limits of the job market of today. We are more than the limitations and labels that we put upon ourselves. And we are charged with the duty of upholding the values of equality and justice regardless of our practice area.
Our challenge going forward is to stay true to who we are and allow that to guide us in our decisions. To remember that we are siblings, sons, daughters, partners, and friends. And now, we can add attorney to that list! Perhaps second thing we all have in common, is that one of us got here alone. I want to especially take a moment to thank the people that supported us through this process. Every family member and friend. The people on the other end of our phone calls. The people who put up with crazy hours and unpredictable schedules. To every person here that was a roommate— God bless you. Thank you to the people who made sure we ate a real meal every now and then. And—because I’m up here—thanks Mom!
Congratulations to the class of 2010.
I am now delighted to introduce to Chiz Nwokonkor, LLM, who will speak for the Master of Law and Doctor of Science in Law Class of 2010, having been elected by popular vote by those classes.