Graduation Co-Chair Speaker: Devora Whitman
On the first day of our Advanced Constitutional Law class, my professor, Henry Monaghan began the course by saying: This class is like the Garden of Eden—Once you're in, it's paradise, but if you want to stay in, there are a lot of ground rules.
Professor Monaghan was certainly right about his class, particularly about the ground rules, but his observation is true in a broader sense as well.
Columbia Law School has lots of rules and I know we all did our best to abide by them for as long as possible. I know that I personally stayed off the Internet for the first day of Legal Methods. I actually read all the Columbia emails, until I figured out how to work the spam filter in my email account. And I honestly did think the no food, no drink sign in the library was only a suggestion.
And, along with those ground rules, came a bizarre sense of paradise. For the past three years, the Law School has been an academic sanctuary for us—a place where we can learn and reflect, a place where we can challenge ourselves and each other, a place where we can try on and try out ideas, all the while secure in the knowledge that everything that happens here will contribute to who we are for the rest of our lives.
Unfortunately, the time has come to leave our Garden of Eden, but as we enter the real world let's not forget the friends we've made, the people who are our future colleagues, and our potential clients - that impossibly diverse, eclectically talented, and uniquely passionate group of women and men who comprise the graduating Class of 2008, who made these past three years the exhilarating, eye-opening, at times nausea-inducing, but overall life-altering experience that it has been.
I started with Professor Monaghan, so the only person I could possibly end with is God Himself, and so I leave you with His words to Adam and Eve, as they prepare to leave the Garden of Eden: Go out into the world, develop it, and make it better.
Good Luck and Congratulations.