Ford School celebrates achievements of graduating students at 2009 Commencement

May 19, 2009

The Ford School celebrated the achievements of our graduating students as hundreds of friends and family members gathered for the 2009 Commencement Ceremony in the Rackham Auditorium on Saturday, May 2.

Eighty-four MPP students graduated, many with dual degrees from another of the University's professional schools. The MPP class of 2009 elected classmate Jeffrey Barnes to speak on their behalf. The Ford School marked an important milestone as our very first class of BA students graduated this year. The undergraduate students elected their own student speaker, Jeremy Borovitz (BA '09), and they walked across the stage along with the masters students to receive congratulations from the school. Joe Schwartz was elected by the graduates to deliver the faculty address, and Elena Delbanco read the graduates' names.

An inspirational Charge to the Class was delivered by Bryan Stevenson, founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative. Stevenson's representation of poor people and death row prisoners in the deep south has won him national recognition. He and his staff have been successful in overturning dozens of capital murder cases and death sentences where poor people have been unconstitutionally convicted or sentenced. His efforts to confront bias against the poor and people of color in the criminal justice system have earned him many national awards including the National Public Interest Lawyer of the Year, the ABA Wisdom Award for Public Service, the ACLU National Medal of Liberty, the Reebok Human Rights Award, the Olaf Palme Prize for International Human Rights and the prestigious MacArthur Foundation Fellowship Award.

The school established a new commencement tradition this year as we welcomed nearly 400 graduates, family, and friends to Weill Hall for our first-ever Graduation Open House on Friday, May 1. Attendees met faculty and staff, toured the classrooms and public spaces of Weill Hall, and showed their school pride by stocking up on Ford School-themed apparel and gifts.