“As guardians of our democracy, you understand the importance of the rule of law and the sanctity of our Constitution. It is you, as future officers of the court, who will be charged with upholding the laws of this land, interpreting its statutes and resolving its conflicts and legal challenges against the backdrop of legal interpretations that have already been made.”
So said the Honorable Debra M. Todd, ’82, Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice, as she addressed the 2008 University of Pittsburgh School of Law’s 271 graduates, family and friends. Justice Todd delivered the 2008 commencement address May 24 at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Auditorium and Museum in Oakland, where she stressed the importance of personal integrity.
Only the second woman elected to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in its nearly 300-year history, Justice Todd began her service on the Commonwealth’s highest court in January 2008. She had previously served as a judge on the Superior Court of Pennsylvania.
More than 30 awards and prizes were presented to graduates for outstanding achievements and contributions. Professor Lawrence A. Frolik and Professor Emeritus William J. Brown won the 2008 Excellence-in-Teaching Award—an award presented annually by the Student Bar Association honoring a professor as voted upon by the graduating class. This year’s vote resulted in a tie. Retiring faculty member, Marvin A. Fein, Associate Professor of Legal Writing, was also honored for his contributions during his 12-year tenure at the School.
244 Pitt Law graduates received Juris Doctor degrees, 11 received Masters of Studies in Law (MSL) degrees, and 16 received Master of Law (LL.M.) degrees.