Let your passion and compassion enable you to improve lives

School of Law Commencement Remarks by President Joseph E. Aoun

05.27.11

Members of the Class of 2011, I offer you my sincere congratulations.  My faculty colleagues, our trustees, your family and friends all share in your joy and take pride in your accomplishments.

Kristin Doeberl, Christopher Logue, and Professor Rashmi Dyal-Chand, thank you for your thoughtful words.

Rashida Manjoo, thank you for your inspiring address.  We are happy to welcome you to the Northeastern family.

Graduates, as you prepare to enter your new profession, I would like to remind you of Northeastern’s mission: to educate you for a life of fulfillment and accomplishment; and to create and translate knowledge to meet global and societal needs.

These simple but powerful principles have helped to shape your legal education.

Each of you has charted your own distinctive path toward a life of accomplishment – through your courses; through your co-ops, both national and international; and through your dedicated service in our clinics. 

These experiences have enriched your lives – as well as your careers – in ways you did not foresee.

The second part of our mission – to create and translate knowledge to meet global needs – is not only relevant to scientists and engineers.  It is relevant for you as well. 

More than ever before, the world needs your skills to master the challenges of a global age.  All around us, the world is changing rapidly, every day. 

All over the world, the spread of global commerce, technological advances, and struggles for freedom are raising new legal questions about international trade, intellectual property, privacy, and human rights. 

Both here and abroad, intense debates are raging about government’s proper role in society – in areas ranging from education and public health to energy and security.

Resolving these challenges; answering these questions -- all of these will demand the skills that you have acquired through your legal training.

During your time here, you have done much more than learn case law and precedents.  You have learned how to think.  You have learned how to untangle complex situations in search of core truths. 

Most of all, you have learned how to apply the principles of the law to address the novel challenges we now face – as well as to face the unknown.

This is why what you have learned here is so important.  This is why the world needs you.

So, Class of 2011, this is my charge to you:  Go forth today invigorated with all you have learned. 

Let your intellect and creativity enable you to chart bold new paths as legal practitioners and scholars. 

Let your tenacity and resilience enable you to answer the complex legal challenges of our age, no matter how daunting they may seem.

Let your passion and compassion enable you to improve the lives of your fellow men and women.

Finally, let your work and your scholarship embody our mission to meet our society’s needs throughout the world.

Graduates, I salute you.  Congratulations once again on all your achievements.  I wish you the very best.