ADL National Director Abraham Foxman Urges Suffolk Law School Graduates to Speak Courageously against Injustice

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467 Students Receive Degrees as Suffolk University Begins Weekend Ceremonies. Sen. Markey among Honorary Degree Recipients.

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Anti-Defamation League National Director Abraham Foxman urged Suffolk University Law School graduates to use their legal expertise to recognize injustice and to be courageous enough to speak out against bias in a commencement speech May 17 at the Citi Performing Arts Center-Wang Theatre in Boston’s Theatre District.

Foxman asked graduates to speak out when they hear hateful language – a racist joke, religious slur or anything that demeans the differences among us, acknowledging that this “takes courage.”

“Had there been people of courage in 1915 when the Armenian genocide was happening, when the bricks of Krystallnacht presaged the Holocaust and during genocides in Cambodia and Rwanda, millions of lives might have been spared," said Foxman.

"It was not bricks that started the Holocaust, but hateful words that demonized the Jews," said Foxman. “We have to find ways to live together, to grow together …to choose our words carefully.”

The courage of a family employee, “a woman who risked her life every day for four years to save the life of another human being,” allowed Foxman to survive the Holocaust in Poland. But he said he was left with many questions: about why so many perished; why the world did nothing; and why he survived.

“As I grew older, I realized there were no answers, only questions and more questions,” said Foxman.

He decided to combine his professional legal training with his moral viewpoint to fight injustice and hate through the Anti-Defamation League and asked the graduates to similarly find a way to “heal and repair a little bit this world that needs repair.”

“There is a need for reasoned and strong leadership, and your generation has a challenge and an opportunity to bring us back to a balanced and civil society.” said Foxman, who was met with a prolonged standing ovation as his speech ended.

Foxman is a worldwide leader in the fight against bigotry who joined the ADL in 1965 and has devoted his life to fighting anti-Semitism, bigotry and discrimination throughout the world. The Law School presented Foxman with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.

U.S. Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) also gave remarks. He urged graduates to use their law degrees to fight for human rights, to relieve poverty, to ensure the checks and balances that make for a fair government and the value of net neutrality, something he has championed during his career in Washington D.C.

“Congratulations for everything that you are going to do for our world,” said Markey, who received an honorary Doctor of Public Service degree.

Honorary degrees

The following also were awarded honorary Doctor of Laws degrees during Suffolk University Law School exercises:

  •     William C. Hubbard, president-elect of the American Bar Association
  •     The Hon. Carl E. Stewart, chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  •     Cedric Cromwell, tribal council chairman for the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe of Massachusetts

Law School Statistics

  •     Juris doctor degrees awarded: 455
  •     Master of laws degrees awarded: 12

Sawyer Business School commencement

State Street Corporation Chair, President and CEO Joseph L. Hooley will speak at 9:30 a.m. Sunday, May 18, at the Blue Hills Bank Pavilion on the Boston waterfront. During his tenure at State Street, Hooley has helped build and strengthen units involved in a variety of tasks, from data and shareholder services to acquisitions and corporate technology. He has positioned State Street as a global leader in providing financial services to institutional investors. Hooley will receive an honorary Doctor of Commerce degree. Bachelor’s and master’s degrees will be awarded to more than 900 students during the ceremony.

College of Arts & Sciences commencement

Boston Medical Center President and CEO Kate Walsh will speak at the College of Arts & Sciences commencement at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, May 18, at the Blue Hills Bank Pavilion, when 1,100 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral candidates will be awarded degrees. Walsh, president and CEO of Boston Medical Center has improved access to quality health care for some of the poorest patients in Massachusetts in addition to strengthening the hospital’s finances and operations to ensure the long-range stability of clinical care and medical education programs. Walsh will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.

Suffolk University, located in historic downtown Boston, with an international campus in Madrid, is a student-centered institution distinguished by excellence in education and scholarship. Suffolk University offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs in more than 90 areas of study. Its mission is to empower graduates to be successful locally, regionally, and globally.

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Greg Gatlin

Mariellen Norris
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