“Every single one of you graduates made a promise to yourself that you would see your quest for a law degree through to the end, and that is a promise you have kept. You now have the rest of your lives to fulfill a greater promise for a more just legal system.”
Those words of encouragement were delivered by Cuyahoga County Executive and Ohio gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald ’93 to 156 graduates as FitzGerald returned to Cleveland State University’s Cleveland-Marshall College of Law to deliver the 2014 Commencement Address.
Building on Cleveland-Marshall slogan of “Learn Law. Live Justice.,” a central theme of FitzGerald’s address was the responsibility law graduates have to contribute to the betterment of society.
“As graduates, you are in possession of a rare gift. You get to decide how to use it, not for yourself, but for others,” said FitzGerald. “The legal education you have received has equipped you to do a thousand different things, but whatever you do my suggestion is you reserve a portion of your legal skill to act on behalf of those who have not shared fully in the benefits of our society.”
FitzGerald expanded upon the thousands of different things graduates can do with a law degree, explaining why a legal education proves critical in a broad spectrum of fields.
“During your journey through law school, you didn’t just learn about the law – you also gained insight into American history, economics, business, civil rights, social movements, politics, the environment and technology,” said FitzGerald, who also received the Dean’s Professional Achievement Award during the ceremony. “It is not so much the course materials you mastered, but the approach to analysis and problem solving that will serve you well in this ever shifting environment.”
Also addressing the graduating class during the commencement ceremony were Cleveland-Marshall Dean Craig M. Boise, CSU President Ronald M. Berkman, National Advisory Council Chair Richard P. Stovsky ’83, Cleveland-Marshall Law Alumni Association President Gregory S. Scott ’96, Student Bar Association President David J. Carter ’14, and Dean’s Lean Law Live Justice Award Recipient Nevin E. Johnson ’14.