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Joel I. Klein, chancellor of the New York City Department of Education, delivered the address and received the honorary degree, Doctor of Laws. “You will have extraordinary opportunities,” he told the graduates. “The question for today is what you will do with those opportunities. You will face enormous challenges in your lives. The question I want you to think hard on is that you are not just a lawyer. You’ve been given the training, and the opportunities, and the skills for leadership. And this is a time in the world’s history when great leadership is necessary.”
Klein oversees more than 1,400 schools with over 1.1 million students;
135,000 employees; and a $14 billion budget. Prior to his
appointment to his current post, Klein was chairman and chief
executive officer of Bertelsmann, Inc., and chief
The President’s Medal of Honor, given to New York Law
School’s most outstanding and accomplished alumni and most generous
benefactors, was awarded posthumously to Philip M. Damashek, a longtime
member of the Law School's Board of Trustees and managing partner of
Schneider, Kleinick, Weitz, Damashek & Shoot (The Cochran Firm), at
one time the largest personal injury law firm in Manhattan. In 2000 he
received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the
Damashek’s son, Jonathan, Class of 1997, accepted the award and
thanked the school on the family's behalf. “He truly loved being an
attorney and always tried to give back to his profession in any way he
could. That is why he was so proud to serve on the Board of Trustees and
to be a part of the
The members of the Class of 2006 remembered one of their classmates,
Suzanne Altamore, who passed away on
Dean Matasar also paused to remember Professor Denise C. Morgan, who
died at the age of 41 in
In keeping with tradition, the commencement ceremony featured awards given to faculty and students, as well as student remarks by representatives of both the Day and Evening Divisions.
The Otto L. Walter Distinguished Writing Awards were presented to the following faculty members:
The student writing awards went to William Simmons of the Day Division for the article “Nanotechnology as a Nascent Technological Model for Immediate Substantive United States and Japan Patent Law Harmonization” and Shalom C. Stephens of the Evening Division for the article “What About Broadcast Violence?”
The Alfred L. Rose Award for Excellence was presented to Marcey L. Grigsby of the Day Division and Roberta G. Cohen of the Evening Division. The Dean’s Award for Student Leadership was given to Kenneth W. Sussman and Justin A. Xenitelis.
The Class of 2006 Faculty Teaching Award was given to Professors Robert Blecker and Aleta G. Estreicher.
Student remarks were delivered by Georgia Davies Graham, Day Division on behalf of the Day Division, and by Patrick Turner on behalf of the Evening Division. Graham said, "Today is a day for celebrating and for celebrating more than just the addition of J.D. after our names. We celebrate the people we are now—fundamentally different to the people we were when we decided to apply to law school." Turner noted: "As we study, we see the real world implications of the cases we read. People are wronged, jail time served, contracts are breached, investors want recourse, and the courts make decisions that affect us all."
Founded in 1891,