Federal appeals judge advocates reshaping dreams throughout life

Federal judge Randall Rader spoke to GW Law School graduates Sunday. Cameron Lancaster | Contributing Photo Editor

This post was written by sports editor Nick Ong.

Federal judge Randall Rader went against the grain when speaking to GW Law graduates Sunday, telling them to dream of coming back to a place like GW instead of extending to the corners of the world.

“It’s in those places of learning where we can humbly understand the need to reshape our dreams,” he said. “And as we reshape our dreams, we’ll reshape our actions. And as we reshape our actions, we’ll reshape ourselves. And then we’ll dream again, better.”

Rader, a chief circuit judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, drew from his personal experiences, like pondering the greatest weakness in the American judicial system that led him to reshape his career in law. He graduated from GW Law in 1978 and also lectures at the school.

“Our life is shaped by our dreams, so you have to be careful how you choose your dreams – not because they’ll come true, because most of them won’t – but because they’ll change you,” he said.

Tim Pezzoli, who earned his J.D. Sunday, said Rader’s speech reminded him of his desire to serve like many of his professors and friends have done.

“There’s a lot of really good people at GW – a lot of people that work really hard for other people,” Pezzoli said. “It’s been really eye-opening.”

Following Rader’s standing ovation, interim dean Gregory Maggs stepped up to echo Rader’s remarks and remind the new graduates that despite a life previously filled with requirements and assignments, they can now choose what comes next.

Maggs pushed graduates to help those less fortunate and to not “waste your precious freedom.” Many GW students will stay in Foggy Bottom, working in a pro-bono law clinic while gaining real-life work experience to help bolster their resumes in a tough job market.

“You are free to choose what comes next, you have the freedom to set your own objectives for your careers and personal lives,” Maggs said. “You have the freedom to find your own ways to achieve your goals, and the freedom to decide for yourself, when you’ve satisfied them.”

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