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Graduates Urged to Make World a Better Place

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Commencement ceremony on December 12, 2012.

Commencement ceremony on December 12, 2012. (Photo: Catharine Skipp/Miami Law) Full-Size Photo

After walking in cap and gown in last week's Commencement ceremony, Miami Law graduate Julia M. Garrett, whose family lives in Missouri, left no doubt that she would be staying in Miami to launch her career. "I'm sticking around, because I really love it here," she said during the law school's post-Commencement reception at the Lowe Art Museum.

Garrett's fellow graduate Cody J. Gavalier, born in South Florida but raised in Denver, Colo., was equally certain that Miami is in his future. "I'm planning on staying down here," said Gavalier, who has finished the law-school part of a joint degree. By next summer, he will also be able to claim a degree as Master of Laws in Marine Affairs. "This is the place for that," he went on. "I have a passion for marine-related issues and I hope to work in that."

Gavalier and Garrett were two of the 59 Miami Law students who completed their law school careers last Thursday, and all but a handful took part in the Commencement ceremony at the BankUnited Center. The law graduates were part of a contingent of almost 850 University of Miami students to walk at the ceremony, which mixed all the usual pageantry and joy of the occasion.

Illustrating the international pull of Miami Law, the future lawyers included several who already possess law degrees from their home countries – Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Brazil, Moldova, Colombia, Argentina, Mexico. And in a reflection of the law school's energetic efforts to reach out to its surrounding community, eight of the December graduates – Megan Britt, Megan Ferris, Julia M. Garrett, Tiffany Hawks, Lisa Lanham, Eric Neff, Autumn Page and Lisa Seto – completed the 75-hour HOPE Pro Bono Challenge, with more than 1,400 hours of pro bono service combined.

Many of the students expect to take the Bar exam in February, not only in Florida but in states such as New York, New Jersey, Tennessee, Colorado and Virginia.

The following is a list of Miami Law's degree candidates:

Under MASTER OF LAWS IN INTERNATIONAL LAW, in the specialization of U.S. and TRANSNATIONAL LAW: Reem A. Alhareeri, Ileana Josefina Falla, Christiane Della Libera, Marzochi Trejgier, Rodica Palii, Rosa Adriana Chaves.

MASTER OF LAWS IN REAL PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT: Alejandro J. Arias; Eduardo Aybar Landrau; Kenneth Bednar; Nafisah M. Fudaeel; Racole L. Henry; Jonathan M. Vollinger.

MASTER OF LAWS IN TAXATION: Stewart F. Berkeley; Stefanie Leigh Cohen; Megan Dawn Ferris; David J. Lehr; Brian Richard Loss; Scott Michael Snyder; Crystal Marie Tice.

JURIS DOCTOR: Anthony F. Anise; Alejandro J. Arias; Eduardo Aybar Landrau; Stewart F. Berkeley; Megan M. Britt; Danielle R. Browne; Karen N. Chrisman; Amanda B. Darlington; Blake V. Dolman; Krista A. Downey; Gustavo R. Espejo; Chrysten M. Fahey; Eliot A. Folsom; Rick-Vincent G. Garcia; Julia M. Garrett; Cody J. Gavalier; Andrea L. Haber; Vicky Halloun; Tiffany A. Hawks; Robin M. Herman; Jose R. Hernandez; Alex S. Hoy: Lisa M. Lanham; Eric W. Leb; David J. Lehr; Chelsie N. Loftin; Brian Richard Loss; Jeremy Paul Macik; Robert Joseph Mansen; Melissa Nicole Myers-Kruegel; Erik A. Neff; Christopher Scott Newman; Odetta D. Norton; Donald Owens; Autumn R. Page; Jodi A. Pandolfi; Jillianne A. Pierce; Patrick H. Poole; Kyle C. Rea; Paul D. Remy; Emily Rienau; L. Spencer Roach; Aamir H. Saeed; Arshveer S. Samra; Daniel Sands; Brenda Schamy; Lisa L. Seto; Sara J. Singer; Scott Michael Snyder; Paul Souferis; Crystal Marie Tice; Christopher W. Van Hall; Jonathan M. Vollinger; Pieter F. Wasung.

JURIS DOCTOR/MASTER OF BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION: Scott E. Allbright, Jr.; Mark Justin Lesorgen; Michael M. Rubenstein.

JURIS DOCTOR/MASTER OF ARTS IN MUSIC: Patrick Alan Nitchman.

The University of Miami's newest alumni are entering a world that's changing at breakneck speed, and technology – from smartphone apps that are rendering cash and credit cards obsolete to electronic chips that optimize automobile performance and lighting systems – will continue to be a driving force behind these changes.

Recognize the powerful forces transforming contemporary life, learn to lead them, and use the connections they spawn to give back: That, in a nutshell, was the advice that Arun Sarin, the Indian-born American executive who was chief executive officer of telecommunications giant Vodafone from 2003 to 2008, delivered to the graduates at the commencement ceremony.

Sarin, who entered the telecommunications industry at a time when cell phones weighed two pounds and provided just 30 minutes of talk per charge, was one of two distinguished luminaries to receive honorary doctor of science degrees at the ceremony.

Nasser Ibrahim Al-Rashid, a world-renowned businessman and engineer whose philanthropic efforts have benefited humanitarian programs around the world, including research and clinical activities at UM's Miller School of Medicine, was the other. Rashid recently donated $10 million to UM's Bascom Palmer Eye Institute to establish an interdisciplinary research center dedicated to eradicating blinding injuries and lethal orbital malignancies. Both Rashid and Sarin are parents of UM graduates.

"At a macro level, the world is very interconnected and will become more interconnected," Sarin told the graduates, noting that events in other countries such as Brazil and China affect the United States. While people thought that the financial crisis would be localized, "it spread across the world," Sarin said. "The main point is that we are interconnected."

Technology, Sarin told graduates, is "changing before our eyes." Broadband service will soon be available in every corner of the world, he noted. "We will have access, in real time, to money, credit, and our assets so that we feel more secure," and in the health care industry, information will be sent remotely to doctors. "Lead the change and help write the rules," Sarin urged the graduates.

With administrators, deans, faculty and staff, and family and friends looking on, he told the graduating students to work hard, travel the world, address pressing problems such as global climate change and poverty, and "leave the world a better place" by volunteering and giving back.