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Student holds diploma over head
MAY 22, 2017 MONDAY

Commencement 2017 message encourages law school grads to live a full life

The message given at Widener University Commonwealth Law School’s Commencement was clear: Take time to live a full life.

Commencement speaker Douglas Wolfberg, a 1996 alum and a member of the Board of Trustees, left the graduates with advice from John Lennon.

“Lennon said, ‘Life is what happens while you’re busy making over plans’.” he said. “So, by all means, plan your career, plan your professional journey. But don’t forget to make those non-billable hours count. Leave time to live your life. Time for your family, time for your significant other, time for your children. Time to be spontaneous. Time to love. Time to take care of yourself. Exercise. Find balance.”

He emphasized that the real world is a busy place, but it is important to not let a career be consuming.

These thoughts were echoed by an emotional and touching speech from the class valedictorian, Zachary DuGan, who recently lost his father in April. He credited his family around him for giving him the strength to continue through finals and speak at commencement.

He encouraged his fellow graduates to ‘remember your why’ as they set out on their legal career paths.

“Why have you done everything up to this moment and why are you willing to work for what you want in the future?” he asked. “I know that every graduate here has his or her “why,” but I want everyone to remember it when life becomes difficult. As my father always said, “If it were easy, everyone would do it.” And I am confident we all will.”

Dean Christian Johnson encouraged the importance of being civically engaged and continuing to make a difference in the world.

“As educated professionals and soon to be lawyers, you leader,” Johnson said. “Successful leaders understand that the true measure of success is not how much money you will make, but the difference you make in society and helping others. The privilege of being a part of this fraternity requires that you invest your time and talent in making the world a better place.”

During the ceremony, Dean Johnson presented the annual awards to faculty. Professor James Diehm was given the Outstanding Faculty Award, and Distinguished Professor Michael Dimino was presented with the Douglas E. Ray Excellence in Faculty Scholarship Award.

And, Widener University president, Dr. Julie Wollman had one last assignment for the graduating class. She challenged them to do more, continue to solve problems and achieve great success.

“Be ambitious, keep your aspirations alive, and keep working toward them,” she said. “Your legal education gave you the tools to be a game changer not only in your profession, but in your community, across the country, and around the world.”

 Click here to view Commencement 2017 photos.