Thursday, September 1, 2011

Dean Post Welcomes the J.D. Class of 2014 to Yale Law School

In his convocation address on Wednesday, August 31, Dean Robert Post ’77 welcomed the 205 members of the Yale Law School J.D. Class of 2014—a diverse and extraordinary group winnowed down from 3173 applicants for admission.

“You are about to enter one of the truly great and unique pedagogical institutions on this planet,” said the dean. “For this one astonishing moment, you are poised at the very edge of what undoubtedly will become one of the great adventures of your life.”

It was the 200th class of new students at Yale Law School, hailing from 8 different countries, 38 different states and 74 different undergraduate institutions and speaking 39 different languages. Among them – a U.S. Air Force pilot, a deckhand on a fishing boat, a former concert violinist and student of Itzhak Perlman, a parachuting coach, an international kickboxing champion, and an Apple iPhone application developer.

Dean Post urged them each to find their own individual paths to success and to discover for themselves what will give their lives meaning and satisfaction.

“We shall educate you so as to empower you to become more truly yourselves. We shall educate you to liberate your energy and your passion. We shall educate you to endow you with the capacities to make a lasting and important difference, no matter what your chosen field of endeavor. And we shall educate you in this way because we believe in you. We believe in every one of you sitting now in this auditorium.”

He reminded the group that in three short years, when they gather together as a class for graduation, they will be different, having accomplished feats and mastered skills they now find unimaginable.

“In fact, in the coming years you will grow and change so profoundly that this moment, this precise instant, will come to seem, from the perspective of your graduation day, like the first day of a new phase of your life. So pause, lean back, take a deep breath, and relish the many flavors of this moment—its exhilaration, its promise, its anxiety, its triumph.”