‘Go Forth Brilliantly,’ Totenberg Tells Graduates
“I know you will pursue many varied pathways in the years ahead and spread your talents on behalf of organizations and clients far and wide,” U.S. District Court Judge Amy Totenberg told the Class of 2014 on May 16. “As you proceed, still never forget the call of justice and humanity. We need you. Our fragile and public world needs you. Now go forth brilliantly.”
Totenberg of the Northern District of Georgia spoke to graduates during the 30th Commencement and Hooding Ceremony in which the college conferred degrees on 225 graduates from the full-time and part-time programs.
“I know well how the economic climate and rapid changes in the legal profession appear to cast a shadow of uncertainty on your future at this very moment when you are trying to gain an initial toehold on your professional life.”
However, Totenberg told the class it has the tools to adapt and succeed. “You have thoroughly digested the very fruits of this fine law school. And most important, you do not have your heads stuck in the sand. But instead, aspire to broader challenges in your lives.”
Totenberg encouraged the class to be agents of change and to serve others. “And no matter what role you play, our nation needs you to be a voice of conscience, and a voice of tolerance and reason and if our justice system and democracy are to survive and flourish.
“Big doesn’t matter. Every service rendered, every kindness extended, matters,” she said. “…What is seemingly small in the world of law can mean the world to the people you represent or serve.
“And if you care, and if you go beyond your practical confines, you too will not forget that moment in time when you first made a difference in the practice of law to another individual,” she said. “The more you give of yourself and touch the lives of those you represent, the richer your life will be and the richer it will be in meaning and justice will be served.”
Following tradition, representatives from the Class of 2014 selected Totenberg as the commencement speaker. Nominated by President Barack Obama, Totenberg was unanimously approved as a U.S. district judge in December 2010. Prior to that, she worked as a private practitioner and arbitrator and worked part-time as a special master and court monitor for several U.S. district courts.
During the ceremony, faculty members drape hoods over graduates to signify the conferral of an advanced degree. The college’s deep purple hoods indicate legal study, with the blue and red accents representing Georgia State University. Professors Jessica Gabel, Ryan Rowberry, Roy Sobelson, Corneill Stephens and Kelly Timmons, all chosen by the class, participated in the hooding of each graduate.