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      Delaware Law News

      Delaware Law Graduates Asked to Be Guardians of the Law

      Delaware Law School Commencement

      Delaware Law Dean Rodney A. Smolla addressed the 43rd graduating class of Widener University Delaware Law School as “guardians of the rule of law” at the close of the commencement ceremony held on May 20.

      Smolla’s remarks echoed what Commencement Speaker Honorable Randy J. Holland had said earlier in the ceremony. The dean extolled the graduates to think beyond just the sterile rule of law and remember the words of Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., who wrote, “The law is the witness and external deposit of our moral life.”

      Widener University President Dr. Julie E. Wollman was on-hand to offer a few remarks and confer degrees to the 179 graduates. Additional speakers included Delaware Law Alumni Association President Renae Axelrod ’91 – who welcomed the new graduates to the Alumni Association – and Dean’s Award Winner and Valedictorian Jacob Fedechko.

      Eugene McGurk, the secretary of Widener University’s Board of Trustees and a member of the Board of Overseers, conferred a posthumous doctor of laws honorary degree to former Delaware Attorney General Joseph R. “Beau” Biden III.

      Smolla and McGurk discussed Delaware Law’s close affiliation and support of the Beau Biden Foundation for the Protection of Children, which has offices on campus, and talked about the relationship the school has enjoyed with the Biden family. Beau’s father, Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr, served as an adjunct professor before becoming vice president of the United States.

      Biden’s aunt, Valerie Biden Owens, accepted the honorary degree from President Wollman.

      Smolla announced that Holland, the recently retired Delaware Supreme Court Justice and longtime Delaware Law adjunct faculty member, had been named Distinguished Jurist in Residence at Delaware Law.

      “I’m deeply honored by this recognition as the Distinguished Jurist in Residence and I’m delighted that I will be able to continue my affiliation with the law school,” Justice Holland said.

      “Attorneys will continue to be considered in the future the guardians of democracy and trusted and respected,” Holland said in his address to the graduating class. “Today, forty-five years after being admitted to the bar, I still have stars in my eyes about being a lawyer, and I hope that you always will too.”

      The ceremony also included the presentation of the Outstanding Faculty Award to Helen S. Balick Professor in Business Bankruptcy Law Bruce Grohsgal.


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