Doing his dramatic best to invoke the presence of absent keynote speaker Howard Dean, Boalt's own Dean Christopher Edley addressed more than 350 law school graduates at the 2006 commencement ceremony on May 13. In an exuberant welcome speech, Edley promised to pursue greatness for Boalt, and—on a more poignant note—exhorted the class to "forever be students—of the law, and of our society, of humankind's hopes and needs."
Dean, the Democratic National Committee chairman, was among a number of elected officials who canceled graduation speaking engagements in deference to picket lines by local union members of AFSCME, which represents the campus's custodians, landscape maintenance workers and food service employees.
"Howard Dean could not be here," Edley told graduates and guests gathered under sunny skies at the Hearst Greek Theatre. "But if he were here, what would he say? We're going to California and Texas and New York….and to Washington D.C. to take back the White House…….And then we're going to invest more in financial aid, and guarantee freedom of career choice; and we're going to expand the faculty by 40 percent; and build 10 world-leading think tanks; and a new building to put it all in…..and then we're going to be the best in the state, the best in the country, the world, the solar system and the history of the universe! YEEEAAAAHH!"
Edley paid special tribute to the Class of 2006 for a record-breaking class campaign in which more than 97 percent of the graduating students made a gift to Boalt. "Your support is simply beyond belief," he remarked, "and will have a powerful impact on your fellow alumni. I've seen it already."
Commencement faculty speaker Professor Emeritus Michael Heyman recounted outstanding events that marked the history of the Greek Theatre, and described the many changes that have transformed Boalt since he joined the faculty in 1959. Noting that the "study of law is the study of complex social and business relationships," Heyman encouraged the graduates to take advantage of a life that will be "full of opportunities."
Following a performance by the Boalt Hall Singing Ensemble, student speakers included Larissa Teixeira '06, representing graduate students; and Class of 2006 co-presidents Kawezya Hutchinson '06, and Prisca Bae '06, who paid tribute to "the community that is Boalt." Bae, who with Hutchinson co-chaired the successful 2006 Class Campaign, urged classmates to become "attorneys of conscience," so that their dedication to giving back will not be "just a promise we make, but a commitment we keep."
Recipients of student awards included: Shawn Bayern '06 (Thelen Marrin Prize for Academic Achievement); Jamie Crook '06 (Thelen Marrin Prize for Law Journal Writing); Seema Patel (Francine Diaz Memorial Award); Prisca Bae '06 and Kawezya Hutchinson '06 (Student Service Award); and Amy Craig '06 (Jamison Prize for Scholarship and Advocacy).