Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) recounted his own decorated record during the Law School graduation ceremony on Sunday afternoon at the Smith Center to encourage new graduates to enter into public service careers.
The Hawaiian senator, who graduated from GW Law School in 1952, encouraged the graduates to use their degrees to see beyond “wealth and power” and enter into work that will benefit their fellow Americans.
“Take seriously the idea of public service,” Inouye said. “Use your knowledge to strive toward life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
In his address, Inouye recalled the patriotism of his fellow Japanese-Americans during World War II.
“Thousands of Japanese-Americans volunteered to serve in the military and were willing to place themselves in harm’s way for a country that had incarcerated them without cause,” Inouye said. “I am proud to say that we became the most decorated unit in the history of the United States military.”
In addition to Inouye’s address, Bryan King, president of the Student Bar Association, presented awards to a distinguished professor, staff member and student who were selected by the class of 2008.
Ralph Steinhardt, who received the faculty service award, said he spoke on behalf of all professors at the Law School in thanking the class.
“Sitting there in your faux medieval regalia and text messaging each other – just like you did in all of my classes – I just want to thank you for being here,” said Steinhardt. “You enter as students but you leave as colleagues.”