June 08, 2009
Class of 2009 Pays Tribute to Former
Dean Mary C. Daly with Endowed Scholarship Gift
St. John’s University’s School of Law held its 139th Commencement
Exercises yesterday on its Queens Campus at Carnesecca Arena.
Dennis Jacobs, Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals
for the Second Circuit, delivered what Acting Dean Andrew J. Simons
called an “insightful, prophetic and inspirational” keynote address
before 306 graduates, family, friends, administrators and
Dean's List Graduates
The Graduation Ceremonies were dedicated to the late Mary C. Daly,
who passed away as Dean of the St. John’s School of Law this past
November. New Dean-Designate Michael A. Simons (who will take over
the reigns of the School of Law on July 1), gave tribute to Dean
Daly – his former mentor and friend – in his Welcome speech to the
“Today we celebrate but our joy is tempered by the absence of Dean
Mary Daly. She was your Dean who welcomed you here three years ago
at your orientation,” he said. “And it is wonderfully fitting that
you – the Class of 2009 – has decided as your gift to the
University to endow a scholarship in her name. You truly are part
of Dean Daly’s dream here at St. John’s.”
Rev. Donald J. Harrington, C.M., President of St. John’s
presided over the ceremony and conferred honorary degrees upon
Judge Jacobs and Senator Kenneth P. LaValle (R-C-I, Port
Jefferson), who both received Doctor of Laws degree, honoris
causa. The School of Law also awarded 274 students
the Juris Doctor degree, 16 received an LL.M. in Bankruptcy and 16
others the LL.M. in U.S. Legal Studies, the first graduating class
from this program.
“I urge you to allow this degree to call you forth, not only to
excellence in your profession but also to a firm commitment to the
highest personal and professional values,” Rev. Harrington, C.M.
said, in speaking directly to the graduates before conferring their
Judge Jacobs, in his keynote address, advised the graduates that
although times may be rough there are similarities to their plight
that he experienced upon his own graduation from Law School. And,
that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel if the graduates have
the ambition and drive to succeed.
“There is a bond between us,” Chief Justice Jacobs said. “When I
came out of Law School in 1973 there was a similar recession. The
great upside even in these tough economic times is that lawyers
will be indispensible guides through it all. Transformation will
happen and I foresee a great and prosperous future for you.”
Chief Justice Jacobs was confirmed by the Senate and
received commission to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the
Second Circuit in 1992. On October 1, 2006, he was named Chief
Judge. He has served as a member of the Committee on Judicial
Resources of the Judicial Conference of the United States since
1997 and has chaired that committee since 1999. A native New
Yorker, Judge Jacobs was a Partner at Simpson, Thacher &
Bartlett from 1980 until his judicial appointment. He
received his B.A. degree from Queens College in 1964; his M.A. from
New York University in 1965; and his J.D. degree from the New York
University School of Law in 1973.
Senator LaValle was elected to the New York State Senate in
1976. The former Executive Director of the Senate Education
Committee, he has played a key role in shaping education policy
throughout his career and also proven himself as an advocate in the
areas of health care, environmental protection, real property tax
relief, disabled and senior citizens. Senator LaValle is
Chairman of the Senate Majority Conference and has standing
assignments on the Higher Education, Agriculture, Education,
Finance, Insurance, Judiciary, and Rules committees and is a member
of the New York State Commission on National and Community Service.
Originally from Brooklyn, NY, Senator LaValle is a practicing
attorney who received degrees from Adelphi College and the State
University College at New Paltz, before earning his J.D. degree at
Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center.
For information regarding the St. John’s University School of Law,
please visit www.stjohns.edu/law.
Media members interested in more information about the 2009
Commencement Exercises are asked to call Dominic Scianna, Assistant
Vice President of Media Relations, at (718) 990-6185, or inquire by
e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.