More than 650 law school graduates received their diplomas at the school’s commencement celebration in the Charles E. Smith Center Sunday.
Speakers at the ceremony emphasized the role graduates will play in a world filled with conflict and the hope they will be able to inspire through their careers.
Here’s what the speakers had to say:
1. Be selfless
Ali Kingston, the outgoing president of the Student Bar Association and the ceremony’s student speaker, urged fellow graduates to “represent the underrepresented” moving forward. She said graduates should be selfless because “great responsibility” comes with a law degree.
“Whether you’re working at D.C. Superior Court, working on the Hill, entering the world of big law or moving to a small town to champion a great cause, you must do good in the world,” she said.
Kingston also encouraged graduates to recognize the individuals who have helped them grow during their time at GW.
“I ask that you seek out those who have impacted and inspired you, and share with them the role they’ve played in your transformation,” she said.
2. Stay true to yourself
Scott Greenstein, the president and chief content officer of Sirius XM, a broadcasting company, and a law school alumnus, gave the ceremony’s keynote address. Greenstein highlighted his own unconventional career path and passed along pieces of advice he learned from working with successful businesspeople, entertainers and politicians.
He encouraged graduates to continue learning and to create their own definitions of success so they can pursue the work most meaningful to them.
“Ultimately, you must and will decide what brings you happiness, and that desire and sense of fulfillment will fulfill any challenge you face,” he said.
Greenstein said a desire to contribute to the “greater good of society” should drive the graduates to “focus on the possibilities ahead.”
“So be passionate and be committed without fear, let the world see you in your fullness,” he said. “Today is just one big stroke of paint on that portrait, and there’s a whole canvass to go.”
3. Hope for the future
Law School Dean Blake Morant, who announced in February that he would leave his post at the end of the academic year, told the graduates that he was going off script because of both the emotions he felt toward stepping down from his position and the bright futures in store for the graduates.
Morant said he was optimistic about the ability of the graduates present to hold together the “fibers of democracy.”
“Legally trained individuals are the ones who are behind the scenes getting the job done, and then I look at you and all that you have accomplished, and I know that our future is bright,” he said.
Morant added that graduates should focus on giving back to society by adding to the accomplishments of the law school’s alumni community.
“You bring to them a youth and exuberance that is necessary today,” he said. “You bring to them a sense of excitement and a sense of hope that is desperately needed right now.”