Commencement, Law School Deans, Law Schools

Alumni Object To Commencement Speaker Whose Collar Isn’t Popped Nearly Enough

If I told you that a first-term Massachusetts Congressman, Joseph P. Kennedy III, was delivering the commencement address at a law school, where would you think that would be?

Certainly not Harvard Law. Kennedys start at Harvard, but they don’t finish.

Let’s see, first-termers haven’t done much, but Kennedy does have an impressive last name. He hadn’t done much as a lawyer before being elected to Congress. My guess would have been that Kennedy would be perfect to speak at something in the Suffolk Law to Northeastern Law band (or maybe UMass Law if he was desperate for exposure).

So I was pretty surprised to find out he’d be speaking at the UVA Law commencement — but not nearly as surprised as some UVA Law alums….

A so-called representative from the UVA Law class of 2011 sent a letter to Dean Paul Mahoney regarding the choice of the 2014 commencement speaker. In pertinent part:

With all due respect, sir, is this a joke? Did The Onion hack UVA Law’s homepage? Is the law school really claiming that our “under-40 demographic”—a demographic of which no member had yet been born during the Camelot martyrdom glory days—is going to unite itself under the representation of this dorky freckled big-toothed redheaded first-termer with the last name our grandmothers wish was theirs? While the Kennedy family may indeed represent your graying generation, this second-tier Kennedy does NOT represent ours.

Dean Mahoney, this invitation is an embarrassment to the law school. Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III went to Harvard Law. We all know UVA Law cleaves to its connections to the Kennedy family, but we feel this invitation will just underscore the fact that UVA is the second choice to Harvard for the Kennedy family (we get the youngest children and the ones who cheat their way into expulsion – “honor code” our posteriors). We wish UVA Law was better at promoting its graduates into the upper echelon of achievement so we would not have to rely on the charity of a dying dynasty clinging to the coattails of its one truly accomplished member while acting out its own private version of Final Destination.

In fairness, Joe Kennedy III does kind of look like the love child of Bobby Kennedy and Conan O’Brien (both Harvard grads). The letter goes on to call for Mahoney’s resignation due to this slight:

Dean Mahoney, this is the final straw. We ask not only that you rescind Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III’s invitation to speak at commencement, but we also ask that you resign immediately. The sooner you aging Baby Boomers head out to pasture and take your Kennedy fetish with you, the better off this country and the law school will be.

No word yet on how Dean Mahoney will respond to this grassroots effort. Maybe UVA can get Jay Bilas? I know he went to Duke Law School, but hey, close enough, right?

(Read the full, funny message on the next page….)

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