Commencement, Law School Deans, Law Schools

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


March 2, 2014

Dean Paul G. Mahoney
University of Virginia School of Law
580 Massie Road
Charlottesville, VA 22903

Dear Dean Mahoney,

Last week, we learned through a law school press release that U.S. Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III, a first-term congressman from Massachusetts, will deliver the commencement address to the University of Virginia School of Law’s Class of 2014 on May 18. Initially, we were merely puzzled by this choice of a first-term Massachusetts Congressman with tenuous (at best) connections to our school. However, when we reached the sentence in the press release claiming that this Kennedy scion “not only represents the 4th District of Massachusetts but also a generation of Americans under the age of 40,” we collectively spewed Greenberry’s coffee all over our laptop keyboards.

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.

Furthermore, as lawyers sworn to uphold the Constitution, we believe that the obsession with the Kennedy family undermines our nation’s democratic principles. The JFK celebrity presidency was bad enough, with royal overtones so overt it would make William and Kate blush. The Baby Boomers’ creation of the Kennedy Cult after the JFK assassination, however, is truly disturbing, as it normalized American worship of the presidential office. The parallels with ancient Rome are eerie and frightening. Just as the plebes’ veneration of Julius Caesar after the Ides of March initiated the Roman Republic’s slide into an imperial dictatorship, the Baby Boomers’ deification of JFK after his assassination marked the beginning of the America Republic’s descent into presidential Caesarism. If history continues to repeat itself in this manner, the decline and fall of the American empire cannot be long off.

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.


University of Virginia School of Law Class of 2011 [1]

[1] Well, at least a couple of members of the Class of 2011.

Congressman Kennedy to Deliver UVA Law Commencement Address [University of Virginia School of Law]

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