Justice tells graduates: ‘Do not be afraid to lose’

Several law graduates during the 2019 ceremony

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he Hon. Maria Araujo Kahn, a Connecticut Supreme Court justice, implored the Class of 2019 to push through adversity and chase excellence, but not at all costs.

Kahn addressed the School of Law and its 77 graduates this evening at the People’s United Center on the York Hill Campus. She was awarded an honorary degree at the Commencement ceremony.

Kahn told the graduates that practicing law is not about trading integrity for wins in court.

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“I know that every attorney, including those new to the profession, wants to win his or her case. We all do. That’s human nature,” Kahn said. “However, you should resist the urge to win at all costs. Remember that your integrity is your most valuable asset. No one client or one issue is worth you losing your good name. Do not be afraid to lose.”

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A law graduate waves to his family as he enters the ceremony

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A group of graduates cheer together

The Class of 2019 is the first to receive degrees from new President Judy Olian, who encouraged graduates to remain curious, lifelong learners — the best preparation for 21st century careers and citizenship.

“We live in times of social and political polarization, of growing tensions along economic, gender, racial, ethnic and religious divides, while at the same time, we are experiencing the excitement and opportunities of unprecedented discoveries in health care technology, services and social connectors that — if deployed wisely — could radically alleviate these tensions,” Olian said.

“You are the generation that can achieve this,” Olian added. “Lawyers help facilitate all of these positive developments, enabling them to materialize and persist — with creativity, consistency and fairness.”

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Jennifer Gerarda Brown shakes hands with a graduate

Embracing the future

Dean of the School of Law Jennifer Gerarda Brown presided over her last ceremony as dean before she becomes the provost of the university.

School of Law Dean Jennifer Gerarda Brown, who will begin her new role as interim provost on June 1, shared a story about a serious car accident that she walked away from without any major injuries.

“My hope for you — the mission and the blessing I give you — is that you open your eyes each morning and feel, deep in your bones, that same truth,” Brown said. “No matter how tough the day before might have been, the day you are beginning is a gift, not guaranteed to you and easily lost — a chance to be a positive force in the world. Treasure that gift, and use it wisely.”

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