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May 18, 2013

NU graduation highlights

by Dan Rodriguez

The Chicago Theater was the venue for a great convocation ceremony yesterday afternoon.

I congratulated our graduates, thanked them for all their contributions to our community, and spoke briefly what it means to be “ready.”  NU’s president, Morty Schapiro, spoke about the importance of friendship and of maintaining friendships forged in law school in the face of the business of ordinary life.

At many times in the ceremony, we remembered our beloved colleague, Dawn Clark Netsch ’52, who we lost earlier this year.  In one of the especially moving parts of the convocation, Dawn’s nephew, Sandy Kerr, accepted the Childress teaching award, an award whose recipient is selected by the graduating students, on Dawn’s behalf posthumously.  Sandy also presented the student awards, including the Wigmore Key (to Timothy Fry).

Our convocation speaker was Mark Walter ’85.  Mark is the principal owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers and is a principal in Guggenheim Partners.  He provided remarks on the value of law school, putting in special context the story of how he and his partners recently came to own the Dodgers (paying a record-setting amount for what has emerged as an fertile investment).

For me, a highlight of the ceremony were the two speeches of our students, a JD and LLM graduate.  Jeff Van Dam and Sergio Herrera gave interesting, humorous remarks about their experiences at Northwestern.  Both emphasized in their own ways how remarkable a group of students we have at Northwestern and how the best of NU Law is found in these incredible students.

(I must also mention that Jeff, referring to comments I made in my remarks about my dog, Rico Sauve, said that he knows my dog and that “Rico is a terrific individual”).  Can’t top that!

Thanks to all who made this graduation such a meaningful event for friends and family, for faculty and administrators.  And best of luck to the Class of 2013.  Make us all proud!

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