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NIU College of Law Celebrates 2017 Commencement

The view from the platform as Vice President and Provost Lisa Freeman (standing at the podium) conferred the Juris Doctor degree onto the members of the class of 2017.

The view from the platform as Vice President and Provost Lisa Freeman (standing at the podium) conferred the Juris Doctor degree onto the members of the class of 2017.

The Northern Illinois University College of Law held commencement exercises on Saturday, May 27 at the Holmes Student Center Sandburg Auditorium in DeKalb. Family and friends gathered in numbers to congratulate the class of 2017. During the ceremony, the College of Law conferred 66 Juris Doctorate degrees. 

This year's commencement speaker was former United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois Zachary Fardon. Fardon was appointed as U.S. attorney by President Barack Obama in October 2013, and served until January of this year. In his capacity as U.S. attorney, Mr. Fardon was one of the most prominent lawyers in Illinois and the country, and since stepping down as U.S. attorney he has been an outspoken advocate for reform of Chicago's system of justice.

Fardon spoke to the graduates about his personal journey as an attorney, from his unlikely beginnings as a law student at Vanderbilt University Law School to his time in private practice at Latham & Watkins LLP in Chicago to his stints working in U.S. Attorney's Offices in Nashville, TN and Chicago.

He encouraged the new lawyers to follow the tenets he himself has learned during his career: to strive for excellence, maintain integrity and to demonstrate empathy for others. He reminded the graduates to be open to any number of career paths, saying that the best prosecutors often make the best defense attorneys and vice versa. And he exhorted them to take responsibility for problems in society and look for ways to help people.

After the ceremony, a reception was held in the Duke Ellington Ballroom at the student center.

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For more information, contact:
Melody Mitchell
Alumni Events & Public Relations
(815) 753-9655 or mmitchell@niu.edu

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