Receipt of Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree Places Scarsdale High School Grad

Nina Totenberg with U.S. Supreme Court Nominee Sonia Sotomayor among the Ranks of Notable Figures Honored by Pace

[WHITE PLAINS, NY – MAY 2009] – Nina Totenberg, Legal Affairs Correspondent for National Public Radio (NPR), gave a keynote address to the graduating class of Pace Law School and received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree during its 2009 commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 17, at the Law School’s campus in White Plains, NY.

“Nina Totenberg is one of this country’s most distinguished journalists and has performed the great public service of helping millions of us better understand the law, one of the great mechanisms for an orderly society,” said Michelle S. Simon, dean of Pace Law School, who presided at the commencement ceremony.  “More than that, by making the law less mysterious and more transparent, she has made it more accountable.”

Ms. Totenberg, a Scarsdale High School graduate, served as the keynote speaker for the event, addressing the nearly 300 graduating students – the largest in Law School history – and an audience consisting of faculty members, parents, family and friends.  In recognition of her achievements and contributions in the field of legal journalism, Totenberg was presented with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree, placing her among the ranks of other notable past keynotes, including NYPD Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly; US Court of Appeals Circuit Judge (and current U.S. Supreme Court nominee) Sonia Sotomayor; and former US Attorney General Janet Reno.  Additional awards were presented to students and staff members in recognition of their dedication and exemplary work.

Also during the ceremony, members of the Class of 2009 were invited to sign a “Graduation Pledge of Social and Environmental Responsibility,” an international initiative coordinated by the Graduation Pledge Alliance—a project of the Bentley University Alliance for Ethics and Social Responsibility.  The pledge was instituted at Pace for the first time this year through the work of the Campus Culture & Academics Subcommittee of Pace’s Sustainability Committee.

Nearly 600 of Pace’s graduating, undergraduate, graduate and law students, have signed the pledge, effectively motivating students to take part in a global effort to actively pursue solutions for a sustainable world, one aimed at meeting the needs of today without compromising the needs of the future.  The pledge states that social and environmental consequences will be considered in the daily lives and jobs of the signee, and as a result, they pledge to try and improve these aspects at home and at work.

Nina Totenberg is NPR’s award-winning legal affairs correspondent, who has received widespread recognition for her coverage of the Supreme Court and legal affairs.  Her ground-breaking report about University of Oklahoma Law Professor Anita Hill’s allegations of sexual harassment by Judge Clarence Thomas helped earn NPR the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award.

That same coverage earned Totenberg additional awards, among them: the Long Island University George Polk Award for excellence in journalism; the Sigma Delta Chi Award from the Society of Professional Journalists for investigative reporting; the Carr Van Anda Award from the Scripps School of Journalism; and the prestigious Joan S. Barone Award for excellence in Washington-based national affairs/public policy reporting, which also acknowledged her coverage of Justice Thurgood Marshall’s retirement.

Totenberg has been honored seven times by the American Bar Association for continued excellence in legal reporting and has received a number of honorary degrees. On a lighter note, in 1992 and 1988 Esquire magazine named her one of the “Women We Love.”

Founded in 1976, Pace University School of Law has nearly 6,700 alumni throughout the country and the world. It offers full- and part-time day and evening JD programs on its White Plains, NY, campus.  With its Environmental Law program consistently ranked among the top three in the nation (US News & World Report), the School also offers the Master of Laws in Environmental Law, Real Estate Law and in Comparative Legal Studies and an SJD in Environmental Law.  The School of Law is part of a comprehensive, independent and diversified University with campuses in New York City and Westchester County

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