I can’t believe how fast it flew by,” said graduating law student David Gibbs just before he and the rest of the Class of May 2012 walked down the aisle at Thomas Jefferson School of Law’s Commencement Exercises on May 20, at Symphony Hall.
“I can’t believe it’s over,” said Elizabeth Knowles, who on top of graduating, became engaged the day before the ceremony. What a graduation present! “It feels amazing,” she said, before she delivered a beautiful rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner at the start of the ceremony.
“You have endured!” TJSL Dean Rudy Hasl said, congratulating the new graduates! “You have achieved your goal!”
Graduate Ryan Ciriaco achieved his goal in more ways than one. “I sat next to this girl in orientation, and my goal was to sit next to her at graduation and it paid off – I married her,” he said. Ryan and his wife Samantha Ciriaco indeed sat together at graduation. “And I got to move up to the front of the line,” said Samantha, whose maiden name was Massau.
The commencement speaker was Barry E. Hill, Senior Counsel for Environmental Governance of the Office of International and Tribal Affairs at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, who truly inspired everyone.
“Timing is not one of your greatest virtues,” Hill said of the down economy that has hit the legal profession so hard. “You are facing unprecedented headwinds. You can’t change the direction of the winds, but you can change your sails,” he said. “Don’t be deterred from achieving your goals.”
Hill asked the class to stand for what they believe in, and exhorted them to “Standup, standup, standup!," as the entire class rose as one and applauded. Read The Commencement Address
Valedictorian Noah Wald told his classmates, “Remember the reason you wanted to be an attorney. Remember that passion. If you find what drives you, no one will be able to stand in your way.” Read the Valedictory Address
Juris Doctor degrees were awarded to 195 graduates. One J.S.M. (Master of Science of Laws) degree and 20 LL.M. (Master of Laws) degrees also were awarded.
TJSL Alumni Association President Renee Galente '08 welcomed the new graduates as instant members of the association and let them know that they are not alone - the alumni number in the thousands and there are so many serivces available to them as alums.
Often people say "keep your eye on the ball and don't look back," Galente said. "I couldn't disagree more. Never forget where we've come from or the people who helped you."
“A big sigh of relief,” said Nancy Astifo before she walked down the aisle. “Let the bar studies begin!”
The majority of the graduates were thinking about the bar exam as they got their diplomas.
One of them was Jessica Retoriano Naderi, who is the daughter of TJSL’s Assistant Director of Admissions Operations Mary Retoriano, who as you can imagine is quite proud of her younger daughter. Jessica's husband, Arvand Naderi, is a 2003 TJSL graduate.
“It feels great," Jessica said. “Let’s go party, then go study.”
After the graduation ceremony, everyone came back to the TJSL campus for a celebration and reception!