As a 1986 graduate of Suffolk University Law School, this is my 25th reunion year. That plus a unique and complex chain of events led to me serving as the Marshal of today’s Suffolk Law School graduation at the Boston Convention Center. My duties involved leading the procession of graduates, faculty, trustees and distinguished guests into the hall to start the ceremony and then leading them all out. All the while I was carrying the school mace, a heavy wooden and brass ornamental artifact styled on a Medieval weapon. I had a wonderful time and was deeply impressed by the ceremony and the graduates, 455 of whom walked across the stage to receive their diplomas including former Lowell Sun reporter Mike Lafleur who graduated Summa cum Laude, a truly impressive feat.
The commencement address was a team effort, given by Bill Bratton, the former police chief of New York City, Los Angeles and Boston, and his wife, Rikki Klieman, the famous attorney and TV personality. Suffolk awarded Honorary Doctor of Law Degrees to David Z. Chesnoff, Esquire, of Goodman and Chesnoff, a Suffolk Law graduate now based in Las Vegas who is defense lawyer to innumerable Hollywood stars; to The Honorable John E. Fenton, Jr., Distinguished Professor of Law and former dean of Suffolk Law School, retired Chief Administrative Justice of the Massachusetts Trial Court; to The Honorable Therese Murray, president of the Massachusetts State Senate; and to Bratton and Klieman.
My morning was made more comfortable by the presence of old friend George Ramirez who serves on the Suffolk University Board of Trustees, a group that used to also include Lowellians Nick Macaronis, Marty Meehan and the late Jim Linnehan.
Although many of Lowell’s most recent attorneys are graduates of Massachusetts School of Law, for decades Suffolk seemed to produce most of the practitioners who settled in Lowell. Twenty-five years ago nearly a dozen of us made the daily trek into Boston. In the early 1960s, my dad shared rides into night classes at Suffolk Law with people like Ed Early, Paul Sheehy and Victor Forsley. Hopefully in the years to come, Suffolk’s connection with the city of Lowell will continue and will grow stronger.