UNH Law’s 2011 Commencement to Feature Distinguished Speaker, Guests
Maryland Congresswoman Donna Edwards, a prominent human rights activist and UNH Law alum, will give the commencement address at the University of New Hampshire School of Law's 36th graduation ceremony on Saturday, May 21.
Edwards, who graduated from UNH Law in 1989, has represented Maryland’s 4th Congressional District since 2008. She serves on the Transportation and Infrastructure and Science and Technology Committees, and on the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, and she is a member of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission.
Prior to her work in the U.S. House, Edwards headed the Arca Foundation in Washington, D.C., which is dedicated to advancing social equity and justice. She was also the co-founder and executive director of the National Network to End Domestic Violence, and she led the effort to pass The Violence Against Women Act of 1994 that was signed into law by President Bill Clinton.
"We are so pleased to have as a commencement speaker Representative Donna Edwards, a graduate of the law school and a distinguished public servant who has done much to advance the cause of human rights," said UNH Law Dean John Broderick.
In addition to giving the commencement address, Edwards will receive an honorary degree at the ceremony. Also in attendance to receive an honorary degree will be Harvard Professor Laurence H. Tribe and Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Wallace B. Jefferson.
Professor Tribe, the Carl M. Loeb University Professor and Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard, has taught there since 1968 and was voted the best professor by the graduating class of 2000. The title "University Professor" is Harvard's highest academic honor, awarded to just a handful of professors at any given time and to fewer than 70 professors in all of Harvard University's history.
Tribe helped write the constitutions of South Africa, the Czech Republic, and the Marshall Islands. He was appointed in 2010 by President Obama to serve as the first Senior Counselor for Access to Justice, and he has written 115 books and articles.
Wallace Jefferson has twice made history – as the first African-American Justice and Chief Justice on the Supreme Court of Texas. Chief Justice Jefferson was appointed to the Court in 2001, and in 2004, he was promoted to Chief Justice.
Chief Justice Jefferson was installed in July 2010 as president of the Conference of Chief Justices, an association of chief justices from the 50 states and U.S. territories. As president, Chief Justice Jefferson is also chair of the National Center for State Courts board of directors, a policy and resource organization in Williamsburg, Va.
"The law school is truly honored to feature these distinguished guests at our commencement ceremony," said Dean Broderick. "Representative Edwards, Professor Tribe and Chief Justice Jefferson are incredible examples of the impact one person can have in public service, legal scholarship and judicial service."
This is the school's first graduation as the University of New Hampshire School of Law, after changing its name from the Franklin Pierce Law Center as a result of last year's affiliation with the University of New Hampshire. Members of the school's first graduating class, from 1976, will be joining the first class of UNH Law graduates to commemorate the event.
UNH Law's commencement ceremony will be held in White Park, across from the law school, at 10:30 in the morning. For more information, visit law.unh.edu/commencement.