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Whitehouse '82 Urges Graduates to Embrace Opportunities

by Rob Seal

Senator Speaks to Class of 2010
Senator Sheldon Whithouse '82 delivered the keynote address to Law School graduates.

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Unforeseen and unimaginable opportunities await newly minted lawyers, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse ’82 told the Class of 2010 during the Law School commencement ceremony in May.

“Every day of your life in this profession is a potential turning point. Luck and hazard are ever-present, and your training can take you a great variety of places,” Whitehouse said. “Your life’s trajectory is never settled—never, never—unless you choose to stop seeing the choices around you and deliberately deliver yourself to the daily drudge. Don’t do that.”

The junior Democratic senator from Rhode Island gave his keynote speech to a class of 371 J.D. graduates, 38 graduates receiving their master’s in law and one recipient of the Doctor of Juridical Science.

Whitehouse also stressed the importance of graduates holding themselves to the highest standards of decency. “Challenge yourselves against the highest standards of our profession’s history,” he said.

Whitehouse told graduates that their work upholding the rule of law is central to the security and integrity of the country. “You and I learned here that much of what is good in America is found in our rule of law and our insistence on due process,” he said. “All my experience has been only to confirm and reinforce what I first learned here: the central importance of the rule of law in our American system of government.”

Whitehouse pointed out that at the time he joined the Senate, Virginia Law had more graduates in the legislative body than any other law school. He also praised the school’s spirit of collegiality, which he said is unmatched at other schools of Virginia’s academic qualifications.

PHOTO SLIDESHOW, AUDIO, & VIDEO of Commencement 2010