Remarks to the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law Class of 2022

On May 15, 2022, President Laura Bloomberg delivered remarks at the commencement ceremony for graduates from the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. She also addressed the mass shooting at Tops Market in Buffalo, New York, which occured one day prior to this ceremony. The following remarks appear as prepared.

Class of 2022, congratulations! We couldn’t be more proud of your accomplishments.

To the family members and friends here to celebrate these students, we are glad that you’re with us on this special day.

Graduates, you’ve got a village surrounding you — those people in your network of supporters who encourage you and give you strength — parents and grandparents, brothers and sisters, spouses and children, family and friends. Many of them are here with us today.

Please take a moment to stand and show them your gratitude.

[President Bloomberg leads graduates in applause]

This happens to be a particularly special Commencement ceremony as our College of Law celebrates its 125th anniversary. 

Since its founding in 1897, this school was notable for being the first law school in the state to enroll women, as well as one of the first nationally to admit minority students.

And today, graduates, you join the legacy of Law College alumni that includes dedicated lawyers and judges, legislators, several Cleveland mayors, and Ohio Supreme Court Justices.

You have your village, and you join an illustrious community of alums. I also want to take a moment to recognize the remarkable Law College faculty who have guided you on this journey — as your teachers, mentors, allies and advocates — and sometimes as the people who provided much needed encouragement or that non-so-gentle prod when you most needed it.

Graduates, please join me in thanking these professors — and lifelong learners themselves — who have meant much to you on your learning journey.

Thank you, colleagues, for all you do.

[President Bloomberg leads graduates in applause]

I was planning to talk with you about persevering through a global pandemic, and encouraging you to be lifelong learners...and then I got home from another CSU commencement ceremony yesterday and learned of the horrific hate crime perpetuated on innocent lives in Buffalo, New York. Thirteen people shot, 11 of them black, 10 are dead. These innocent lives were cut short by an 18-year-old young man who identified himself as a white supremacist — who travelled miles to this largely black community and opened fire.

I realize this is not an uplifting image to leave you with on your commencement day, but here’s the key message I hope you will take away:

The C-M College of Law logo says this: Learn Law. Live Justice. Learn is an action verb; so is live

They look good on a logo; it is when you embed this vision into your future that you will change the world for the better.

Today, you are so fortunate to hear from Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor, who is herself a C-M College of Law alum and who will deliver your commencement address.  I don’t know what she will say to you today, but I do know this: 

When I read about the Chief Justice on the Ohio Supreme Court website it says this: "Chief Justice O’Connor has pursued an extensive agenda for strengthening the third branch of Ohio Government in a number of key areas; the first of which is Racial Fairness."

Learn Law, Live Justice indeed. 

Regardless of whether your chosen career path leads you into criminal law or corporate law, tax law, health care, government or nonprofit leadership, I urge you on this day of new beginnings for you to remember the action verbs in the mantra of this, your soon-to-be alma mater: Learn Law. Live Justice. 

As one of our commencement speakers, the author and life coach Timothy Alexander, said to graduates yesterday, "You don’t need it to be easy. You just need it to be possible."

Congratulations, graduates.