Graduation 2014

May 18, 2014

Graduation! Truly a special time, when all around us are young (mostly) people who are ready to make their way in the world. (Even as I write these words I get verklempt, which is Yiddish for excited, overjoyed, and full of emotion.)

I was walking to Brueggers for a bagel on Thursday for lunch and ran into a line of cars the likes of which we only see downtown on Friday evenings, Second Saturdays, and the day in May when some of the colleges at the University of Arizona hold graduation ceremonies at the Tucson Convention Center arena. Verklempt.

Every time I checked Facebook today, there was another picture of a graduate, usually with proud parents. Verklempt.

And then there’s Pomp and Circumstance! Say no more. Verklempt.

I know the times are tough! In my industry there are still traditional, big firm law jobs, but Big Law hires fewer grads, pays them less, and I think there are still firms that will pay a recruited law school graduate to spend a year or two working in the public interest sector, not wanting to lose the talent but wanting to avoid the expense associated with having an associate on board.

For all of you, there are many, many challenges. Our country has not done right by your generation. We’ve left you with a high hill to climb, but—and these words surely mean little, but I’ll share them anyway—I have tremendous confidence in you, the Millennials. Those of you I know are mostly serious, committed, kind, and sharing people. You’re being tested in ways my generation never was, and many of us will never get to know the end of the story. Go forth anyway, and make of your lives all you can!

In a moment I will mention many new graduates. I know many of them, and those with whom I am not acquainted are children of friends. First, though, I must comment briefly on the commencement address. I won’t attach links to all of the columns about the dissing of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice—yes, there are problems with her actions in government, but she’s an academic, with a distinguished record in the academy, and she stood up to Vice President Cheney and Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld—or International Monetary Fund boss Christine Lagarde, or the others who were controversial. Instead, I offer links here and here to other peoples’ list, and the best address—the 2012 Princeton Baccalaureate speech by Michael Lewis—I have heard that is associated with the graduation season. (Text is here.) Michael Lewis gave a talk for the ages, really focusing on what does and does not matter! (Of course, he wrote about the revolution in baseball in Moneyball, so a “for the ages” Baccalaureate should surprise no one!)

On to the grads:

Reyna Benavides, my nephew Jason Gleichman’s girlfriend, graduated from the University of Southern California—her “dream school”—School of Social Work. Reyna is “way cool” and she has a job! Best wishes to Reyna, her mom, Kelli Benavides, her family, and to Jason and my sister Pam’s family.

Mirissa Price, my daughter Cate Rubin’s oldest friend, graduated from University of Colorado-Denver in a pre-dental program. Congrats to Mirissa, Sue, John, and Ariana, and to the Nadelman and Price families.

Other old Cate friend Hannah Emerson graduated from the University of Arizona. Best wishes to Hannah, parents Laury Goll and Gary Emerson, sister Elly, and the extended family. That includes aunt and uncle Bonnie Sedlmayr Emerson and Randy Emerson, and mishpocheh Jane and Floyd Sedlmary, who are more responsible for how my life turned out—and for the existence of Cate Rubin—than anyone other than me and my parents. Floyd set me straight on Beloit College, where I met Ms. J. If none of that had happened, there’d be no Cate Rubin!

Molly Rothschild, daughter of Karen Spiegel and Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, graduated from Loyola University in Los Angeles last week. Go Molly!

Jennifer Parlin, whose husband Erik Fleming’s parents Rhonda and Robert Fleming are close friends and fellow E-Penguins most every Monday night, received a Master’s degree from the University of Arizona. Go Jen, and now that you’re done with school, having you and Erik at Sky Bar may be our best shot for a seventh first place finish. Four down, with seven weeks to go!

Alex Caine, son of Heather Caine and her husband Steve—good friend of MarkRubinWrites—graduated summa cum laude from I’m not sure where, but for the Latin-challenged, summa cum laude is with highest honors. Wherever Alex graduated from, he succeeded!

A young woman named Sarah Rose graduated from Boston University. I think she was Sarah Rockowitz when I knew her a few years ago. Congratulations, Sarah, and best wishes to Sharon Glassberg, Alan Rockowitz, and the rest of your family.

Congratulations to law clerks Nick Bauman and Will Pew, who graduated from the James E. Rogers College of Law at the University of Arizona. Both were terrific law clerks, and while I worry lots about my profession, if we turn out the likes of Nick and Will year in and year out, we’ll make it!

Then there’s the Beloit College Class of 2014. Go Bucs, and your achievement reminds me that I need to calendar next year’s festivities, and start thinking about travel plans.

And then there’s Joseph Blair, who does so much for our community and could have simply blown off the degree that was many years in the making. Joseph, you do us all proud with your efforts, and your commitment to finishing what you started!

I know I’ve surely missed some graduates and their proud families. No slight intended, and the nice thing about a blog post is its not being permanent. Share with a comment or email to and I’ll get things straightened out.

Update 1:  Congrats to Alexander Avigdor (who graduated cum laude) from the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University, and to his parents, Barrett and Alain Avigdor.

Update 2:  NPR just posted a list of 300 great commencement/baccalaureate addresses. Here’s the link:  The Best Commencement Speeches, Ever. Many include audio.

2 Responses to Graduation 2014

Leave a Reply