(Dartmouth, MA -- March 18, 2014) -- Governor Deval Patrick, whose leadership was essential in creating the UMass School of Law at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, will be awarded the Chancellor's Medal for outstanding service to the Commonwealth and will deliver the keynote address at the law school's Commencement Exercises, UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Divina Grossman and UMass Law Dean Mary Lu Bilek announced today.
The UMass Law Commencement is scheduled for Monday, May 19 at 10 a.m. in the Main Auditorium on the main campus.
"Governor Patrick has dedicated his life to strengthening the economic and civic fabric of society by creating educational opportunities so that people have the chance, through hard work and determination, to achieve their dreams ," Chancellor Divina Grossman said. "UMass Law is a shining example of the governor's belief that education and justice are deeply connected."
"UMass Law and all that it stands for would not exist without the support that Governor Patrick provided," Dean Mary Lu Bilek said. "We aspire to create lawyers like the governor, who will use their legal education to create a more just society."
The Governor's appearance at the Law School caps eight years of supporting UMass Dartmouth, beginning with his regional inauguration event held at the Campus Center. Governor Patrick's support has been instrumental in the $48 million renovation of the Claire T. Carney Library, development of the Massachusetts Accelerator for Biomanufacturing in Fall River, and recent approval of a $55 million academic building for the main campus.
UMass Law, the only public law school in Massachusetts, was established in 2010 to provide a high quality, affordable legal education focused on creating justice-centered lawyers. UMass Law is especially committed to increasing the diversity of those who practice law in the Commonwealth and encouraging students to become professionally engaged in their community through clinics and internships while they study.
Since opening, the school has:
-- Earned provisional approval from the American Bar Association.
-- Frozen tuition for three years.
-- Implemented a cutting edge curriculum focused on preparation for the profession, requiring all students to complete 15 credit hours of legal skills training, including a clinic or internship.
-- Developed a program of professional development, requiring all students to do 30 hours of pro bono work, yielding more than 9100 student pro bono hours by 190 students at more than 72 organizations in six states and two countries in AY 2012-13 and AY 2013-14 to date.
-- Became one of just 20 law schools in the country to require a clinic or internship of its students.
-- Recruited a top-flight faculty, including Dean Mary Lu Bilek who was recently named as one of the "Top Women in Law" by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly.
-- Hosted U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.
-- Been cited as one of the top five regional law schools for black students.
-- Increased applications in each of the last two years and steadily improved the academic indicators of the entering classes.