Graduates Honored at Law School’s 49th Commencement

Over 900 family members and friends joined us to celebrate UNH Franklin Pierce School of Law’s 49th Commencement on Saturday, May 18. 190 students from the residential JD, hybrid JD, and graduate programs walked across the stage marking a significant milestone as they celebrated their hard work and achievement of earning their law degree from UNH Franklin Pierce. 

Professor Sophie Sparrow led the procession of excited students to the tent in Concord’s White Park. 

Residential JD Anthony Alsante delivered a moving rendition of the National Anthem followed by heartfelt remarks by Dean Megan Carpenter. Dean Carpenter remarked about the class, “That gutsy-ness, the grit, the resilience, the perseverance that brought you all here has shone throughout your time here. You have learned to be advocates and professionals. You have led student organizations and stood up for principles you believe in. You have challenged each other, yourselves, and the broader community. You made us better as an institution.

Anthony Alsante National Anthem

Anthony Alsante

Dean Carpenter 2024 Commencement Remarks

Dean Megan Carpenter

President Jim Dean of the University of New Hmapshire spotlighted the pivotal moments that graduates experienced throughout their tenure at UNH Franklin Pierce, “UNH Franklin Pierce is now part of your lifelong journey. Graduates, this is your moment, but it is also the culmination of many moments. The epic and ordinary. The personal and collective. The starting points and scenic routes.”

President Jim Dean 2024 Commencement Remarks

President Jim Dean

Following President Dean, student representatives were chosen to speak on behalf of the graduates. Residential JD student George Berg, Grad student Savi Varanasi, and Hybrid JD student Charlie Germano gave remarks highlighting the camaraderie amongst their peers, their successes and achievements, and words of thanks for loved ones and friends who have supported them while pursuing their legal education.

George Berg 2024 Commencement Speech

George Berg

Savi Varanasi 2024 Commencement Speech

Savi Varanasi

Charlie Germano 2024 Commencement Speech

Charlie Germano

This year, we had the honor of hosting two esteemed guest speakers. 

Honorary degree recipient and commencement speaker, Kathi Vidal, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, had important work to attend to in Geneva doing a key international negotiation. As a result, she wasn’t able to join us in person but shared a recording to play on her behalf. Vidal gave a heartful message, emphasizing the boundless opportunities awaiting the 190 degree recipients. “As lawyers, you have a world of opportunities ahead of you - opportunities to improve people’s lives; opportunities to shape the law and the world; opportunities to create a life of joy and meaning for yourself and others.”

Our second speaker, James Judd, graduated from Franklin Pierce Law Center in 1998 with a JD/MIP. Following his admission to the NH Bar, he moved to California to start a vineyard and winery with his father. While waiting for his grapes to grow he wrote a one-man show titled “7 Sins,” which became a long-running success in San Francisco and toured the US and Canada.  The show was serialized on National Public Radio and Judd headlined several national tours with NPR. He currently lives on Cape Cod and works as a private public speaking coach. 

During the ceremony, Judd shared his unique journey, reflecting upon his experiences as a law student and bringing his comedic humor to the floor as a professional comedian. “You have to develop your life, you have to find those stories that enrich you because at the end of your life you don’t want to be thinking about legal stuff,” he shared. “I’m just gonna hit you with my best piece of advice right now… Don’t be anyone’s fixer!”

James Judd 2024 Commencement Speech

James Judd

Two honorary degrees were awarded to leaders in the field. 

Chief Justice of the New Hampshire Superior Court Tina Nadeau (‘89), received an honorary degree in recognition of her leadership on the New Hampshire Superior Court, and her transformational and innovative work in the criminal justice system. “Part of being in a position of leadership is recognizing that you can delve out change, but only at the rate at which the people you’re leading can absorb it,” says Nadeau.

Tina Nadeau Honorary Degree

From left to right: Dean Megan Carpenter, Provost Wayne Jones Jr., Chief Justice of the NH Superior Court Tina Nadeau JD ‘89

Attorney Young-Wook HA ('90, '92), owner of HA & HA Patent Law Firm, received an honorary degree in recognition of his dedication and his leadership in the field of Intellectual Property and his pioneering initiatives informing global collaborations and partnerships.

Youn-Wook HA Honorary Degree

From left to right: Dean Megan Carpenter, Attorney Young-Wook HA

As the degrees were conferred upon the graduates, cheers erupted in White Park, marking the shared excitement and celebration of the class of 2024's great achievement.

Commencement 2024

Congratulations to the Class of 2024! We are so proud of you