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248 students receive law degrees in Sunday ceremony (Released: 5/19/96)

by David Pesci, Office of University Communications.

HARTFORD, Conn. -- "The hardest part of law school is getting in," Hugh Macgill said dryly when all the students had filed into the huge tent that held the commencement ceremony at the University of Connecticut's School of Law. "You may now begin to hope that is right."

The comment drew a hearty laugh from the 248 graduates in attendance. Macgill, dean of the University's School of Law, which is widely acknowledged to be among the nation's finest law schools, smiled back at them from behind the lectern on the stage.

In total, 229 students received law degrees during the morning ceremony at the University of Connecticut's School of Law today. Another 19 students from foreign nations were presented with master's of laws degrees in the same ceremony.

The event was held outdoors on the campus grounds and attended by nearly 2,000 onlookers who shared in the laughter and occasional outbursts of cheering.

Featured speaker, Martha L. Minow, a professor at Harvard Law School and an active civil rights advocate, urged the graduates not to forget "responsibility, care, fairness, and compassion" in their practices.

"If we only look to the bottom line, we may never be the kind of counselors who help the client to do the right thing," she said. "Attention only to time sheets and cost effectiveness may lead us to slight the human interactions in our daily lives that are the soil that we all need to survive."

Doing the right thing, Minow said, may require occasional moments of retreat from the administrative distractions and adversarial realities of law so that attorneys can consider one of their most important professional responsibilities.

"We are the group professionally committed to the 'J' word: justice," she said. "If you don't hear the 'J' word enough in the corridors of the workplace, it's partly your job to ask, 'what about justice?'"

After degrees were conferred upon the graduates, University President Harry Hartley, who earlier this year had announced his retirement from the presidency and a desire to return to teaching, took a moment to express his admiration for the students and staff.

"We have worked hard to make sure that the School of Law is a credit to the state," he said. "I am very proud of the accomplishments and success we have made together here. The school's continued growth and development has truly been outstanding."

After the ceremony, happy graduates crowded together with family and friends to celebrate. "This is has been a terrific experience," said Nick Zaino, a graduate from Rocky Hill who has accepted a position with Carmody and Torrance in Waterbury. "I am very excited and very relieved to be finished. So are my parents. With no tuition to pay next year, it's like getting a raise."

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