Ran­dall L. Kennedy, the com­mence­ment speaker at North­eastern University’s School of Law grad­u­a­tion cer­e­mony on Friday, urged the more than 240 grad­u­ates to embrace the many oppor­tu­ni­ties they will face throughout their careers, and in their per­sonal lives.

Be willing to pursue a variety of call­ings that can enable you to do good and have fun,” Kennedy said. “To the fullest pos­sible extent, do what you want to do.”

Kennedy, the Michael R. Klein Pro­fessor of Law at Har­vard Law School, advised grad­u­ates to find inspi­ra­tion from the dis­tin­guished careers of two North­eastern law school professors—Margaret Burnham, founder of the Civil Rights and Restora­tive Jus­tice Project; and Michael Melt­sner, the George J. and Kath­leen Waters Matthews Dis­tin­guished Uni­ver­sity Pro­fessor of Law, whose career includes work for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in the 1960s and being a nov­elist and playwright.

Kennedy, a leading scholar on race issues, rec­og­nized Burnham and Melt­sner for their relent­less work during the civil rights move­ment and in the years fol­lowing to cor­rect injustices.

  • Scenes from the 2014 School of Law commencement, held at Matthews Arena. Photos by Mariah Tauger.

  • Randall Kennedy, a leading scholar on race issues and the Michael R. Klein Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, delivered the Northeastern University School of Law commencement address.

  • May 23, 2014- (from left to right) Randall Kennedy and Stephen W. Director, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, look on as Isaac Borenstein delivers the faculty address.

  • Stephen W. Director, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, delivers his charge to the law graduates.

Uni­ver­sity leaders, fac­ulty, staff, family, and friends joined the grad­u­ates in cel­e­brating the Class of 2014 at com­mence­ment, held at Northeastern’s Matthews Arena.

In his wel­coming remarks, Jeremy Paul, dean of the School of Law, told the grad­u­ates their edu­ca­tion as lawyers does not end at grad­u­a­tion, and they will need to stand up to injus­tices against core values such as growing income inequality and cor­rup­tion of public dis­course that pre­vent thoughtful debate.

You came to North­eastern Uni­ver­sity because you wanted to make a dif­fer­ence, and you are already doing so,” Paul said. “You have learned to think like lawyers. You are well pre­pared for the path ahead.”

Indeed, the law school grad­u­ates col­lec­tively amassed a vast amount of real-​​world expe­ri­ence while at North­eastern. As a whole, the Class of 2014 logged more than 320,000 hours of clin­ical work, and 89 per­cent of grad­u­ates did at least one public interest co-​​op.

In his charge to grad­u­ates, Stephen W. Director, provost and senior vice pres­i­dent for aca­d­emic affairs, told Northeastern’s newest alumni that they will be sought by others for guid­ance throughout their careers, no matter what type of law they prac­tice. “Have con­fi­dence in your lead­er­ship and problem-​​solving skills, but season your acts with com­pas­sion,” he said.

Deirdre Foley, L’14, one of four stu­dent speakers, rec­og­nized her fellow grad­u­ates’ hard work to nav­i­gate the high demands of a law school edu­ca­tion. “For many of us, this stage of our journey was wrought with stress, con­fu­sion, doubt of our­selves, of our choices,” she said. “But we made it through to the other side. We dis­cov­ered a new meaning to the phrase “work ethic,” we dug down, and we got it done.”

Isaac Boren­stein, L’75, a lec­turer of law, deliv­ered the annual fac­ulty address.

You’ve done a tremen­dous job in get­ting through law school,” said Boren­stein, a former judge for Lawrence Dis­trict Court and the Mass­a­chu­setts Supe­rior Court who has presided over more than 400 trials. “It’s a hard journey and for that we cel­e­brate you.”