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Graduates urged to seek balance
Graduates urged to seek balance
Justice Michael D. Ryan of the Arizona
Supreme Court, a 1977 graduate of
the College of Law, addresses the
December 2007 graduating class.
The 31 mid-year graduates of the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law recently were told to take pride in the field of law and to work for balance in their lives.
"Accept your successes modestly, express appreciation to those who have helped you, and remember that failure is another word for trying," said Justice Michael D. Ryan of the Arizona Supreme Court at a convocation ceremony in the College's Great Hall on Dec. 14.
Ryan, a 1977 alumnus of the College, told the graduates that a legal career can take its toll, and cited statistics showing that lawyers are more prone to depression and problem drinking.
"Keep your balance and perspective in life," he urged. "Reach out to your friends, family, community to help you overcome the tough times."
By maintaining balance, the graduates will experience all the good a legal career can offer, Ryan said.
"The law, the state and the country will be enriched by your contributions," he said.
Dean Patricia White told the students that along with their great privilege comes great responsibility.
"You have received a civics lesson that is unparalleled," White said. "You are as educated as the top one percent of the people in the world and have been empowered to do things that will make a difference."
Graduate Venessa J. Bragg, who sang the national anthem, also was chosen by her class as one of two student speakers.
"During law school I found out I was not nearly as smart as I thought I was," Bragg said. "I learned to embrace the fact that being in a room with all you smart people meant I was smart enough."
Bragg said she also learned to study like she never studied before, that "law school textbooks cost about a grand a year," and that you cannot get through law school without your friends.
The other student speaker, Michael Fahey, outlined his expectations before coming to law school.
"We all thought that, after three years, we would learn to be eloquent on Court TV, to be able to make logical arguments before the Supreme Court, and to be able to keep celebrities out of the slammer," he said. "What we learned is that we know enough to be dangerous, and we have a lot to learn."
He urged the graduates to trust their friends, follow their internal sense of honor and be the best people they could be as well as the best lawyers they could be.
"The two are inseparable," he said.
The December 2007 graduates.
Those completing coursework are:
Cassandra Harper Ayres
Alexander P. Bachuwa
Kirk J. Bardin
Venessa J. Bragg
Elizabeth M. Brown
Janelle M. Carney
Gretel E. Carroll
Evan L. Dushman
Michael W. Fahey
Joy A. Grether
Amanda C. Hudson
Michael B. Kellis
Christine E. Marshall
Karen L. Pugh
Jonathan A. Ray
Portia A. Reed
David D. Sharpe
Sara A. Swiren
Abigail M. Terhune
Robert H. Tierney
Eric K. Van Santen
Javier L. Villarreal
Jessica M. Wann
Carroll, Dushman, Hudson, Ray, Terhune and Wann completed requirements for a certificate of specialization in Law, Science, & Technology, and Hosay completed requirements for a certificate in Indian Law.
Marshall and Wann were awarded Pro Bono Distinction for contributing between 50 and 99 hours of pro bono service while in law school, and Carroll, Hudson, Pugh and Sabo were awarded Highest Pro Bono Distinction for contributing 150 hours or more.
Four students who received their degrees in August also were recognized: Erik Esteban Cruz, Lauren Michelle Langis, Joseph D. McAllister and Rina Pal.