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|Citing Curtis Reitz: Professor Marks 45 Years of Teaching|
Famous: The Extraordinary Career of
David L. Cohen L’81
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COMMENCEMENT ADDRESS (cont'd)
This class also needs to continue Penn Law’s traditional strength in the private sector. In many respects, it’s just as important as the public sector. But we need to find creative ways of complying with our duties to our clients and trying to come up with solutions that benefit both them and the communities in which they operate. It’s not good enough anymore to just say “do no harm.”
Do we have a choice in all of this? Sure. We can turn our backs. We can stay out of the limelight, point fingers and criticize. We’ll be just fine if we can look the next generation in the eyes and say “these problems have been around forever, so we didn’t bother trying. Now you have to deal with them.”
There is no shame, though, in saying to them that we did all we could, but we could not solve these problems. We may never see the success of our work – it may come in the next generation or the one after that. But that’s okay – we can serve as inspirations to those who come after us, much like Sadie Alexander, Regina Austin, and Clyde Summers do to many of us. My parents also serve as that sort of inspiration to me. My father came to the US from India with only a suitcase. My mother also came to the States with little from a small farm in Poland. They worked hard and sacrificed - 33 years later, they have one son applying to business school and another speaking at a law school graduation. To paraphrase Rocky, they took their best shot and they made it. It leaves me to ask, what shot have I ever taken?
Before the Civil War, Lincoln wrote, “I know that there is a God and that He hates injustice. I see the storm coming and I see His hand in it. If He has a place and part for me, I am ready.” I think that we too see a storm coming. Let us face it together. At each reunion, there will be fewer and fewer of us until one day, there will be only one of us left. But at that point, I am positive when this person looks back, he or she will say that when called upon, our class did not let our nation down, our communities down, or our families down.
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