WHITE PLAINS, NY, May 22, 2013 — Pace Law School conferred more degrees at the 35th Annual Commencement on Tuesday, May 14, 2013 than it has in its 37-year history – 339. Among the graduates were 299 JDs and 40 LLMs, 29 in Comparative Legal Studies and 11 in Environmental Law.
Plus there was one more. An honorary Doctor of Laws degree was conferred upon the Commencement speaker, one of Pace Law School’s most distinguished alumni, The Honorable Malachy E. Mannion, a United States District Judge from the Middle District of Pennsylvania. The first Pace Law alumnus to be appointed to serve as a United States District Court Judge, Judge Mannion was in Pace Law School’s first graduating class 34 years ago, which numbered 144 students.
Professor Bennett L. Gershman, a founding faculty member, made the presentation, reading a citation that referenced Judge Mannion’s nomination to District Judge by President Barack Obama in May, 2012 and his unanimous confirmation by the Senate.
The citation acknowledged Judge Mannion’s constant commitment to his law school; that he was the first president of the Pace Law School Alumni Association and returns often to judge moot court competitions and attend celebratory events. Professor Gershman recounted how Judge Mannion’s “special mission [is] to welcome everybody who enters your courtroom with modesty, kindness, dignity and respect” and repeated the Judge’s own words: “It doesn’t make you less of a man or a judge to speak to people as human beings,” adding, “I am not your honor but a public servant.”
Other honors, awards and distinctions
Many honors were given out at the 35th Commencement exercises, including several that were not known ahead of time. Graduating student Jason Cohen sang the National Anthem, a surprise to his classmates, family and friends. The Dean’s Award was presented to Jonina Sauer in the part-time division and Benjamin Lowenthal in the full-time division. Mr. Lowenthal received the Adolph Homburger Humanitarian Award, as well. The Outstanding Departmental Award, which is always selected by the outgoing class, went this year to the Pace Law Library. It was accepted by Professor Marie Stefanini Newman, Director. The final surprise was the presentation of the Barbara Salken Outstanding Professor or the Year Award to Jay C. Carlisle, II. Not only was this the third time Professor Carlisle had received the award since its inception in 1990; his daughter who was visiting from Virginia extended her stay and witnessed this honor.
The recipient of the Law Faculty Award who gave the valedictory address was Matthew Raymond Auten.
In addition to beginning by thanking the family and friends of the graduates for their support and sacrifices as Dean Michelle S. Simon did in her remarks, Matthew talked about the present state of the legal profession and the graduates’ role going forward.
He said, “…despite all the changes, two things I think we all can agree on is that our legal system is truly the foundation upon which our society is built, and that there remain huge legal issues and challenges that will be addressed, for better or worse, by lawyers from our generation. Whether it is a problem that arises over land-use planning in a local town or village, at the county-level over prosecuting a notorious criminal, at a corporation over whether and how to merge with a competitor, or fundamental issues of equality, equal protection, and the scope of Congressional power that are before the Supreme Court today, people will always look to lawyers, look to us, for help in answering those questions. And by joining the legal profession, we are taking on the obligation to provide that help.”
Pace Law School has over 7,000 alumni throughout the country and the world, and is consistently ranked among the nation’s top three programs in environmental law. On its White Plains, NY, campus, it offers JD programs and the Master of Laws degree in Environmental Law, including the nation’s first graduate level programs in Climate Change and Land Use and Sustainable Development, and Comparative Legal Studies, and a Doctor of Laws in Environmental Law. The School of Law is part of Pace University, a comprehensive, independent, and diversified university with campuses in New York City and Westchester County. www.law.pace.edu