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In Memoriam
 
Commencement Speakers Implore Students to Work for Justice 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7

Judge Louis H. Pollak

MESSAGES OF EQUALITY AND JUSTICE threaded through the graduation ceremony in May, as 249 J.D. students, black and white, Asian and Hispanic, strode down the aisle to receive their diplomas.

To sustained cheers from family and friends seated in three circular balconies at the Academy of Music, the graduates earned their degrees on the exact day, 50 years ago, that the Supreme Court issued its famous Brown v. Board of Education decision.

Judge Louis H. Pollak, who worked on the case, told students that lead lawyer Thurgood Marshall helped bring the country closer to the equal protection promised in the Constitution. However, he said, Marshall’s work remains unfinished. Noting the continued lack of state funding of poor school districts, Pollak said inadequate tax support undermines the pursuit of genuine equality for all schools. But he pointed to the new Thurgood Marshall School of Social Justice in Bridgeport, Conn., as a hopeful sign of progress.

“The goal of good, and racially integrated, education can be achieved,” said Pollak, a former Penn Law Dean who is now a judge on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Picking up the theme, class president Albert L. Sanders Jr. talked about the day in April when he slept on the sidewalk in Washington, with countless other students, so he could witness the historic Supreme Court hearing on the University of Michigan affirmative action cases.

 
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