UMass Dartmouth awarded 49 Juris Doctor degrees at its 2017 Commencement ceremony on May 15.
Southern Poverty Law Center Founder and Chief Counsel Morris Dees, who received an honorary degree, spoke to the graduates of their duty and opportunity to defend individuals’ rights. Recalling John Adams’ defense of the British soldiers involved in the Boston Massacre, Dees said, "He made sure the rule of law, not the rule of the mob, would be used in our country."
Student speaker Sheyla Lors described her personal transformation and that of her classmates since arriving at UMass Law.
“We are different,” she said. “We are now the detours that will disrupt and dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline. We are now the drafters whose ink will blot out the damaging effects of pollution on our environment. We are the advocates who will stand in the gap and fight for our neighbors who cannot afford the health care they desperately need in order to stand…We are the ones who will turn this world right side up.”