HLS Dean Martha Minow urges graduates to find connection across difference

Martha Minow at Commencement

Dean Martha Minow congratulates an HLS graduate at the 2017 Commencement ceremony.Credit: Martha Stewart

During this year’s Commencement ceremonies, Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minow told graduates and their families and friends that at a moment when differences sharply divide people in this country and around the world, members of the Class of 2017 “share something indelible.” Despite divergent experiences and identities, she said, “that something drew you to law and the pursuit of justice for all. That something motivated you to study, debate, engage, and serve. You will always have in common this school, and the experiences of bridging differences without erasing them. You identify with many different groups, but now, you will forever be members of the Harvard Law School family.”

As she congratulated the 781 graduates—602 J.D.s, 171 LL.M.’s, and 8 S.J.D.s— gathered on Holmes Field, she also made a request: “Bridge-builders, problem-solvers, advocates, and leaders. Continue to listen to and learn from others, to communicate across differences and produce genuine solutions to hard problems. Then, there will be no limit to not only how well you’ll do, but also the good you will do!”

For Minow, too, the day was kind of graduation. After serving for eight years as dean, she is getting ready to step down from the deanship and return to the faculty. She said goodbye to the Class of 2017 with the heartfelt phrase she used to welcome incoming students. “We searched the world for you!” she said, adding, “You have exceeded our hopes.”