School of Law Commencement ’17

By Veronica Liow, Multimedia Editor

Over 800 graduates of NYU School of Law gathered Thursday at Madison Square Garden to celebrate the end of their strenuous work in law school and the beginning of their lives as public servants.

Dean of the School of Law and Eric M. and Laurie B. Professor of Law Trevor W. Morrison began by challenging the graduates to invoke the rule of law not only in their careers but also in their lives. He acknowledged that the graduates are entering an interesting political climate — one in which the current judicial system and its decisions are disregarded when the system disagrees with policies made by the current presidential administration. This interesting political climate is only more reason for graduates to adhere to the rule of law. Morrison even welcomed the audience to do the same in their everyday lives.

When  NYU President Andrew Hamilton addressed the students, he channeled inspiration from another man by the name of Andrew Hamilton, a lawyer who argued for John Peter Zenger’s right to the freedom of the press in Crown v. John Peter Zenger in 1735. He then encouraged graduates to similarly use the truth to defend the accused.

Afterwards, Hamilton noted that it is the students who define NYU Law’s legacy, since they are the ones who take opportunities, reach for their ambitions and cross cultures. He ended his remarks by congratulating the graduates for contributing to a diverse academic institution built for students seeking to pursue justice.

The crowd erupted in cheers when the Voice from the Class of 2017 Rhidaya Trivedi was called up to the podium to address her fellow classmates. Trivedi explored a story in which the protagonist stays under a light despite knowing that what he was looking for was in the darkness. Using this story as a metaphor, Trivedi challenged her classmates to spend their lives working where the light is, and not to allow those who remind them of the darkness to discourage them. She went on to explain that compromise is key when balancing the light and the dark.

“Stand into the light and reach into the darkness,” Trivedi said.

Reminding her classmates that they are here because of the people in their lives who push them to seek justice, Trivedi ended her remarks and received an applause even grander than the one that welcomed her.

Then came the presentation and hooding of candidates. Awards ranged rrom the Benjamin F. Butler Memorial Award, given to those with unusual distinction in scholarship, character and professional activities, awarded to Kathleen Taylor and Nathan D. Yaffe, to the Dean John Sexton Prize, given to those whose outstanding service to the Law School community exemplifies the values of former NYU Law dean and former president of NYU John Sexton, awarded to Viviana Teresa Bonilla Lopez and Oscar Hernan Londono.

As the ceremony came to an end, it was clear that these graduates were driven to make a lasting impact on society, as they have been doing already during their time as students. Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit Raymond J. Lohier, who graduated from NYU Law in 1991, echoed these sentiments in his remarks.

“We’re a private university in the public service,” Lohier said.

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