Academics and Research / Magazine Feature

University of Denver law Class of 2009 makes trip across the stage

Some 292 new lawyers joined an estimated 12,000 living alumni as University of Denver law school graduates May 16, setting forth on a path that Commencement speaker Terrance Carroll warned comes with deep responsibilities.

The DU Sturm College of Law celebrated Commencement with traditional pomp and circumstance, a few light moments, a moment of silence for a lost friend, and that traditional handshake with the chancellor that signifies a job well done.

Dean José “Beto” Juárez Jr. welcomed the new graduates and said he is proud to see them complete one stage in their lives, but he added that he expects to see them go on to make contributions to the legal community in the coming next stage.

Juárez then led a crowd of several thousand in a moment of silence, remembering law Assistant Professor Erik Bluemel, who died this month in a bicycle accident in Denver.

Carroll (JD ’05) served this spring as speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives. He warned the new class of graduates that they enter the professional world at a time of great challenge and uncertainty, but it will be up to them to carry on and ensure that everyone gets a fair chance.

Lawyers, he said, have a special obligation to their community, state, country and to the world. It will be lawyers, he said, who will be counted on to ensure that liberty and justice go hand in hand.

“Those of us who have had these opportunities owe an obligation to go back out and fight for others,” he said. “Go out and fight for opportunity, go out and fight for justice, go out and fight for that opportunity for others.”

One of those graduates, student Commencement speaker John Louis “Trey” Baker III, joked with the audience for a few moments, then turned serious, advising his fellow graduates that everything in life boils down to three moments: yesterday, today and tomorrow.

“Yesterday, today and tomorrow are the only three days that matter,” he said. “If we continue to learn from our yesterdays, live our todays to the fullest and continue to hope for our tomorrows, there’s nothing that can defeat this group that is sitting in front of me right now.”

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