The Class of 2012 celebrated the culmination of their years at the College of Law during Commencement and Hooding Ceremonies on Friday, May 11 at the Georgia State University Sports Arena. Renowned trial lawyer and longtime College of Law supporter Bobby Lee Cook delivered the commencement address.
Student Bar Association President Naeem Ramatally welcomed friends and family, and celebrated the work his classmates had put into their years at the College of Law. “Our class is wonderfully cohesive,” he said. “Despite our varied and diverse backgrounds, we’re all here today: our hooding ceremony, graduating law school together. All of our hard work, persistence, intelligence and our heart went into producing this moment. We have a lot to be proud of.”
Dean Kaminshine welcomed Cook to the podium, saying, “I firmly believe that his support of us has something to do with the similarity of his story and our law school’s origins. Both Bobby Lee Cook and our school became successful from humble beginnings.”
Cook agreed as he spoke about his experience as a young lawyer, and declared to the “veritable sea of young lawyers” that they have “been privileged to attend a law school that within a mere 30 years has achieved a national reputation of preeminence and a unique reputation for producing lawyers who are equipped in the art of advocacy.”
He stressed the changes he has witnessed over his decades of legal practice, encouraged the students to maintain their optimism and argued for the importance of honor and advocacy in the legal profession. “As lawyers,” he said, “you will have a special responsibility in American society; I think of you as guardians of our freedom.”
Concluding his address, Cook said, “I look out at you today and I’m convinced that you have the right stuff. You have the right training and this is your time. It’s your destiny. I’m convinced that you will invigorate the bar and the bench with new blood. Your youth, and your strength, and your courage, and your vitality will help in doing that. And there’s no reason why you will not become great and good advocates. Your journey has been a long one, but I can tell you that it has just begun.”
After University Provost Risa Palm announced the official conferral of the Juris Doctor degree, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Roy Sobelson and a student-selected faculty hooding team, comprising Associate Dean of Student Affairs Kelly Timmons, Associate Dean of Research and Faculty Development Wendy Hensel, Professor Corneill Stephens and Assistant Professor Caren Morrison, began the hooding ceremony.
The hooding ceremony is a symbolic one, in which faculty members drape the hood over the graduate’s gown to signify the conferral of an advanced degree. The hoods worn by our GSU Law grads are purple, indicating legal study, with blue and red accents that represent Georgia State University.
Congratulations, Class of 2012!