Graduates from Western Michigan University Cooley Law School’s three Michigan campuses (Auburn Hills, Grand Rapids and Lansing) were bestowed with juris doctor and master of laws degrees during the law school’s spring commencement ceremony on May 21, at the Michigan State University Auditorium. WMU President Dr. John M. Dunn provided the keynote to 149 graduates and their family and friends in attendance. Javaron Buckley, who was selected by his classmates, presented the valedictory remarks.
Dunn’s keynote marked the first time he addressed a graduating class at WMU-Cooley. He said that many of the graduates may have been among the first students to enroll under the affiliation agreement between the law school and the university that began in 2014.
Dunn also spoke about the current political climate and how recent law graduates may be called upon to re-establish the shared narrative of who and what we are as a nation.
“You are graduating at an unusual time in our nation’s history. This is a turbulent time in which we’re seeing attempts to redefine time-tested values like free speech, patriotism, civil rights and the basic ethos upon which our country was founded,” said Dunn. “You will be on the front lines when it comes to defending those laws and polishing that narrative. I know your commitment to the rule of law and when it comes to making the right decision, I have to say my money is on you.”
During the valedictory remarks, Buckley reflected about their time in law school, comparing it to how the Titanic could have avoided sinking. “If the Titanic would have hit the iceberg head-on, it would not have sunk. There’s a life lesson about avoiding problems in that,” he said. “I stand before a group of remarkable graduates who took the voyage through law school and hit the iceberg head-on. It might’ve slowed some of us down, however it did not sink us.”
Buckley also spoke about their futures as attorneys and said, “As lawyers, we are the guardians of justice and the means by which the law reaches the people. Therefore, when carrying out your duties, remember to refrain from becoming intolerant to people’s problems. I ask that you serve with passion and integrity and with empathy for your clients.”
Each class at WMU-Cooley bears the name of a distinguished member of the legal profession. The spring 2017 graduating class is named after Justice Earl Warren. Warren was an American jurist and politician, who served as the 30th governor of California and later the 14th Chief Justice of the United States.