School bestows law degrees during graduation


Stopping for a photo at the Sept. 24 WMU-Cooley graduation ceremony were (left-right) WMU-Cooley President and Dean Don LeDuc; WMU-Cooley graduate, and presenter of the valedictory remarks, Charell Elliott; and Genesee County Circuit Court Judge Joseph Farah.

– Photo courtesy of WMU-Cooley
Western Michigan University Cooley Law School presented 47 juris doctor and 14 master of laws degrees to graduates during the law school’s commencement ceremony for the Michigan campuses (Grand Rapids, Lansing, and Auburn Hills) at the Wharton Center for the Performing Arts in East Lansing on Sunday, Sept. 24.
Genesee County Circuit Court Judge Joseph Farah provided the keynote, and graduate Charell Elliott was chosen by her classmates to give the valedictory remarks. During the ceremony, WMU-Cooley professor Richard Henke was presented with the Stanley E. Beattie Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Farah’s keynote was styled as a lawsuit — The Warren E. Burger Class v. the World. He posed a question about the graduates’ readiness to address the need of various people for legal services.

Throughout the speech, he responded to the question by saying that the answer was before them (the graduates’ teachers), behind them (family and friends), beside them (their classmates) and within them (their own dedication to achieve).

At the conclusion of his remarks, Farah ruled in favor of the class. He said that based on the education the students have received and the hard work they put forward, he believes the graduates are ready to take on the world.

During her remarks, Elliott said that a successful career is created by variety of elements. She spoke of passion, hard work, talent, luck, blessings, grit, and opportunity, as well as the people who help along the way. She encouraged her classmates to honor their aspirations and all that they have been working toward throughout law school.

“Let’s say yes to uplifting, motivating and helping the next generation of law students as well as our future clients,” said Elliott. “We cannot afford to fold, fail, forget or lose faith in what is already instilled in us — greatness. So from one future attorney to the next, claim it, grab it and see the vision that you have worked so hard for.”

Each class at WMU-Cooley bears the name of a distinguished member of the legal profession. The September 2017 graduating class is named after U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Earl Burger. Burger was an American jurist and politician who served as the 30th governor of California and later the 14th chief justice of the United States Supreme Court.