Wednesday, December 29, 2010

December LLM and MRLS Graduates: Celebrations and Official Recognition

Without question, one of the most satisfying times of the academic year is when graduating students are recognized and their accomplishments celebrated.

December 2010 was certainly no different for the University of Denver Sturm College of Law Environmental and Natural Resources Law Program. Lucy Daberkow, Assistant Director for the ENRL Graduate Program and I, were delighted to wish all of our graduates well and extend to them best wishes as they begin their professional futures.

These pictures represent two of the key events during December. The first picture depicts the scene at the December graduation ceremony. The picture illustrates the diversity of our program as well as the fact that our graduates are a very impressive group! Beginning on the far left is Alex Aidaghese, originally from Nigeria and currently an LLM student; me; Juliet Briggs, LLM graduate from Nigeria; Payal Sathe, LLM graduate from India; Lucy; Eva Kuoni, LLM graduate originally from Mexico who now lives and works in Denver; Kris Ellis, MRLS graduate from the U.S.; Tonye Oki, 2005 graduate who is originally from Nigeria but now lives and works in Denver and teaches "Negotiating Natural Resources Law Agreements," in the ENRL program. The two very young ladies in front -- many of you will recognize them right away -- are Emma (left) and Amelie (right) Daberkow from the classes of 2025 and 2027 respectively.

One of the aspects of the graduation ceremony that Lucy and I very much enjoy is meeting the families of our graduates. Everyone at the ceremony -- the proud parents, spouses, children, significant others, friends -- each enjoys the event and has their own personal pride in the graduate they have come (many times long distances) to recognize. Lucy and I salute all of these individuals as well since they have often made significant sacrifices and have provided enormous encouragement along the way to support their graduate.

The second picture was taken after a graduation lunch where Lucy and I celebrated with three of our graduates, Ms. Briggs next to me, Ms. Sathe, Lucy, and Ms. Kuoni on the far right-hand side of the picture.

Some of the graduates were not able to attend either event, but we also wish them well.

We experience these occasions with mixed emotions. On one hand, it is difficult to realize that we may not see these graduates again for a very long time. But on the other hand, it is exciting and satisfying to watch them go forth and put to use what they have learned.

In biding these students goodbye and good luck, Lucy and I are reminded of the words of the famous British historian Edward Gibbon: "The winds and waves are always on the side of the ablest navigators."

Don C. Smith
Environmental and Natural Resources Law Program

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