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Advice from Justices: The Minnesota Supreme Court helps celebrate graduation season

Posted: Thursday, June 6, 2019

The Minnesota Supreme Court is helping to celebrate graduation season this year. Justice G. Barry Anderson, Justice David L. Lillehaug, Justice Natalie E. Hudson, Justice Anne K. McKeig, and Justice Paul C. Thissen participated in events that mark the end of the academic year at institutes of higher learning. Speeches from the justices touched on the rule of law, challenging inequalities, the importance of believing in yourself, and the power the new graduates now embody. 
Justice G. Barry Anderson delivered the 2019 Ronald S. and Kathryn K. Christenson Lectureship in Politics and Law at his alma mater, Gustavus Adolphus College in Saint Peter. His lecture was called, “Preserving the Rule of Law.” A 1976 graduate, Justice Anderson was a student of Professor Ronald Christenson, in whose honor the lecture is named. Justice Anderson majored in political science and history, and later earned his juris doctorate from the University of Minnesota Law School. He is the longest-serving member of the Minnesota Supreme Court of those currently on the bench, having been appointed in September 2004.
On May 25, Augustana University in Sioux Falls conferred on Justice David L. Lillehaug an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.  A 1976 graduate, Lillehaug delivered the commencement address last year, and has served on the Board of Trustees. 
On May 18, Justice Natalie E. Hudson delivered the 131st commencement address at the University of Minnesota Law School. Justice Hudson spoke about what the legal profession will give graduates and what it will require of them. She encouraged graduates to challenge systemic inequalities and to embrace their role in providing access to justice through pro bono work. She is a graduate of the Law School and serves on its Board of Advisors. 
Justice Anne K. McKeig delivered the commencement address at Inver Hills Community College on May 16. She spoke to the students about her personal experiences of growing up in Federal Dam on the Leech Lake Reservation and the life experiences that brought her to where she is today, on the Minnesota Supreme Court. Justice McKeig encouraged graduating students to never give up on themselves, to put their feet in the door and keep it open, and called on them to be the authors of their own histories and to define success by their own standards.
Justice McKeig also contributed to last year’s graduation season. In May 2018, she was the commencement speaker at, and received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from, Hamline University. Justice McKeig graduated in 1992 from what is now Mitchell Hamline School of Law. 
On May 19, Justice Paul C. Thissen delivered the commencement address before 234 graduates at Mitchell Hamline School of Law. Justice Thissen encouraged graduates to share and be mindful of the power, that as new lawyers, they now have. He shared his own experiences of reckoning with the responsibility of providing sound legal advice in the real world, and urged the graduates to challenge the status quo and to embrace unplanned opportunities.