Congratulations to MSU Law’s Class of 2022
On the morning of May 13, Michigan State University College of Law formally returned to the Breslin Center for the first time in two years to honor the graduates from the Class of 2022. Faculty, staff, alumni, and guests gathered to celebrate the students receiving their degrees and to welcome them as they made their official entrance into the legal profession.
At her first Commencement since becoming dean of the College of Law in June 2021, Dean Linda Sheryl Greene addressed the graduates: “I am in awe of your resilience and your accomplishments. You have succeeded despite amazing odds. Like the rest of the world, you were catapulted into a remote environment, something we could have never predicted.”
Michigan Supreme Court Justice and MSU Law alumna Elizabeth T. Clement, ’02, delivered the keynote speech. In her address, she analogized the graduates and their legal career preparation to that of a tree, one with deep roots – representing your family, history, culture, customs, and friends – a strong trunk – developed by your education, your interests, your curiosity, and your past experiences – and an array of branches – which symbolize physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual growth and nourishment.
“Lawyers. Leaders. Spartans. I cannot think of a better motto for MSU Law and I can attest that law school is what prepared me to be a leader, just like it has you. As I mentioned earlier, you leave this great institution as leaders, but true leaders always continue to grow. Leadership is going to look different for each of you, but I believe the key to leadership is to listen,” Justice Clement said. “Lawyers are known for liking to talk, to express their opinions, to be right, to argue – but listening is what allows you to understand the perspectives and opinions of others, truly hear what they are saying and also what they are not, and leads you to making decisions that are informed and collaborative. Being a listener is the one thing that can be the difference in being an effective leader versus just being someone in charge. It is the one attribute that will lead others to follow and respect your leadership.”
In addition to faculty and staff, Dean Greene and Justice Clement were joined on the platform by the Class of 2022’s class officers, Colton Kopcik and Haley Gluhanich, class president Neonila Kossak, and graduates Rabab Qamar and Erin Shrum, who also delivered remarks at the ceremony.
As the selected class speaker, Qamar leveled with her classmates about the challenges they all encountered during law school, specifically as law students faced with a pandemic that shifted the course of their education.
“As I look out into the crowd today, I see a sea of determined, resilient, and passionate people. Fellow classmates who rose up to every challenge that came their way and succeeded in completing the path to pursuing their dream,” she said. “Today, we leave the doors of MSU Law for the last time and replace the title of law students with lawyers. I hope in this moment we remember our determination, passion, and resilience. That we remember with each forthcoming challenge, we’ve risen up to so many more.”
Professor Philip Pucillo was recognized by the graduates with the Faculty Award for 2022. He received the award with his characteristic charm and humor, but in his acceptance, he turned the honor back on the students and their families.
“I want to address the family members of the graduates and, on behalf of the faculty, make a heartfelt plea and ask if you could forgive us for what we put your children through for these last three years,” he said. “It was tough – it’s normally tough, for them it was especially tough. I’m not going to go into the details except to say it required an enormous amount of grit, an enormous amount of grace, and they made it all the way here today. It was remarkable what they’ve done.”
Congratulations to our newest Spartan lawyers!