For Albany Law School’s Class of 2017, it was a day of inspiration and celebration.
166th Commencement: Photos | Video (clickable)
Before crossing the stage Friday, May 19 at Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., approximately 110 graduates heard from keynote speaker David McCraw ’92, vice president and deputy general counsel for the New York Times.
“Being a graduate of Albany Law School means … being the kind of lawyer people count on,” said McCraw, who serves as the Times’ top newsroom lawyer and is among the nation’s most prolific litigators of freedom-of-information cases. “I have always prided myself on being that kind of lawyer, an Albany lawyer—a lawyer who shows up, who keeps trying, who wakes up the next morning trying to figure out why whatever he did yesterday didn’t work and what he can do today to make it a happen. That was something I learned at Albany Law School.”
McCraw—speaking seriously and often humorously—recalled the lessons he learned during his 15 years at the New York Times Company, where he has been the lawyer behind virtually every major investigative and political story during that period and heads up the newspaper’s crisis management team when reporters run into peril while on assignment abroad. He also spoke of his October 2016 letter to the lawyer of then-candidate Donald Trump defending the Times’ right to publish a story—one of the lasting artifacts of the presidential campaign. “Anything can happen,” McCraw said, stressing the importance of courage and believing in oneself.
McCraw also talked about hitting a roadblock when applying to the New York Daily News at the onset of his career. Instead of accepting the decision, he directly contacted the Daily News’ hiring legal counsel, made his case, and got the job. “A total Albany move,” he said.
Concluding, he told the Class of 2017, “You made it. Welcome to my world. I’m glad to have you.”
President and Dean Alicia Ouellette also offered encouraging words.
“You will use your degree to do amazing things,” Dean Ouellette said. “You are off to jobs in public service, in big and small law firms, in the Senate, in prosecutors’ offices and public defenders’ offices, in the financial industry, banks, and health organizations. You are off to make change in the world, work for justice, and make a difference in the lives of others.”
“Today is about celebrating accomplishments. Getting to this moment is a tremendous achievement,” she added. “You should feel confident about moving into the next stage.”