Monday, May 23, 2011

Environmental and Natural Resources Law Program Recognizes the Spring 2011 Denver Law Graduates

The Denver Law spring 2011 graduation took place this past weekend. It was a memorable occasion for all involved, with the many graduates feeling a combination of relief and accomplishment and their friends and parents feeling enormous pride in the graduates' achievements.

As director of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law and Policy Program there is a great deal of pleasure in seeing the students, many of whom I have become quite well acquainted with, graduating and moving on to the next chapters in their lives. But on the other hand, there is a sense of sadness at seeing these students leave the confines of the college of law.

I'm not suggesting that their parents and families are sad to see them move on, of course, but for those of us who have gotten to know them and watch their development, it is a rite of passage. There is a large measure of respect in their accomplishments as well as anticipation on what the futures holds for them.

The class of 2011 was remarkable in many ways. They were diverse in make up, coming from more than 10 countries around the world. They were accomplished in having worked on Denver Law's many fine law journals. They served in externships ranging from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, to key global NGOs, to private practice and businesses and everything in between.

They studied a wide array of courses including environmental, mining, oil and gas, renewable energy, sustainable development, human rights, negotiations, administrative law. They studied about domestic (U.S.) issues along with foreign law and international law. They had front row seats as the world economy tried to deal with the increasing needs of energy and resources along with the understanding that energy and resource needs must take account of a broader group of issues including environmental protection and world health.

In brief, they represented as a group -- JD, LLM and MRLS graduates -- the most well-trained and prepared students we have ever produced. Our goal as a program is to improve and enhance our offerings, and as such prepare them for the opportunities they will face when they enter the workforce.

For many of the graduates, one chapter in their lives has been written. But many future chapters are yet to be determined. Our pride in their performance at Denver Law is only exceeded by our hopes that they contribute to the major challenges and opportunities the world faces in the years ahead. We will watch them with great anticipation.

My colleague Associate Administrative Director Lucy Daberkow, who has played such a major part in building a program with students from around the world, commented on this momentous day: "Knowing that our wonderful graduates have completed their rewarding journey through our graduate program gave me an immense sense of pride. I was also extremely happy to see their families and friends join them on their special day. Many of them traveled from places as far away as Brazil, Chile, India, Nigeria, and Peru; I was once again reminded of the incredible diversity of our graduate program, a diversity that reflects the changing face of the world and makes Denver Law's graduate preeminent in the study of environmental and natural resources issues."

Don C. Smith
Environmental and Natural Resources Law & Policy Program

Editor's Note: First picture is Andy Astuno, a native Denverite, and his father Denver attorney John Astuno Jr.; the second picture is Rocio Urbina, Luis La Rosa (both from Peru) and his mother, and Don Smith; the third picture shows Don Smith and Nino Coppero (from Peru); the fourth picture is of Nino and his family. The fifth picture shows Nino and Lucy Daberkow along with Amelie and Emma Daberkow. The sixth picture shows, from left, Alphonsus Ihuoma (from Nigeria), Alex Aidaghese (originally from Nigeria), Don Smith, Lucy Daberkow, Nino, and Carla Araya (from Chile). The seventh picture is of Nino, Don, and Carla. In the eighth picture are Lucy Daberkow, Juliet Briggs (from Nigeria), and her parents. The ninth picture shows Emma Tauchman (a Wisconsin native) and Amelie and Emma Daberkow. The tenth picture is of Payal Sathe (from India) and her family. The eleventh picture shows Lucy Daberkow and Rocio Urbina. The final picture shows Leandra Zanqueta and Taciana Fonseca Marques, both from Brazil.

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