Mayor Michael Bloomberg addressed members of the class of 2010 at Brooklyn Law School’s 109th Commencement held on June 4 at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall. Stuart Subotnick ’68, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, and Dean Joan G. Wexler presented the 463 members of the graduating class with their degrees and also conferred upon Mayor Bloomberg the Law School’s highest honor, an honorary doctor of laws degree.
Mayor Bloomberg, a dedicated public servant, noted philanthropist, and brilliant businessman, addressed the crowd of proud graduates with a lighthearted and hopeful speech, which included an equal mix of advice and humor. He began his remarks with an inside joke: “I wanted to help make this a really memorable commencement, so I asked some of the graduates if perhaps we should move the ceremonies to one of the Law School lecture halls and make it a kind of farewell appearance for the Class of 2010. But they said, ’No, the elevators are so slow that by the time everyone got out of the lobby they’d be the Class of 2020.’”
Mayor Bloomberg then explained that he had thought long and hard about what advice to bestow upon a room filled with hopeful graduates, and had finally figured it out. “I built a business developing a way to provide up-to-the-minute financial services information on desktop computers,” he told graduates, “so the first words of wisdom that naturally came to mind were: if it isn’t working, try control-alt-delete.”
In spite of moments of laughter, Bloomberg was serious about one thing: the incredible number of successful lawyers produced by Brooklyn Law School. He applauded the Law School as being a source of legal talent for New York City and his own administration noting that his in-house counsel, Anthony Crowell and co-counsel Bill Heinzen teach a course on the law of state and local governments together at BLS, and noting that of the 600 lawyers at the city’s Corporation Counsel, one in seven is a graduate of Brooklyn Law School. “No other school does a better job of preparing attorneys to practice law in New York,” he said.
Bloomberg counseled the Class of 2010 to guard against sounding like lawyers. “Every time you begin a sentence, ‘Respondent further stated,’” he said, “maybe one thing to do is to start over.” He also advised graduates to remember that, while gaining knowledge is important, even greater value lies in building strong connections. “The professional associations and relationships you establish and maintain now are going to be very important to you as you launch your careers,” he explained.
His final point offered a more personal perspective on life. “Life is full of surprises,” he said, “and that certainly includes surprises in your professional life, so make the most of them.”“When I went to work on Wall Street right out of college,” he explained, “I was sure that it was just temporary, and that in a year or two, I’d be in the job of my dreams in a manufacturing firm,” he recalled. “Fifteen years later, I was still at that firm, as a general partner. And I was as happy as a clam too, right up to the day I was let go – which is the nice way of saying I was fired. But I never looked back. I struck out on my own, started my own company, and loved every minute of it – until the day I walked away from it, and decided, against all the advice of my friends, to run for mayor. So, graduates, the pathway that takes you to your dreams may not be the one that you imagined.”
Read more about the Mayor.
Read about Mayor Bloomberg's Commencement Addresses in The New York Times.
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View video of Mayor Bloomberg's Speech.
View video of the Commencement Ceremony.