After 181 previous efforts, one might think that UVA’s annual graduation ceremony runs a risk of treading well-worn territory. However, the 182nd graduation brought about its share of novel experiences for graduates and the community alike. UVA’s first female president conferred more than 6,200 degrees, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder paid homage to law school alum Robert Kennedy, and Governor Bob McDonnell encouraged some of Virginia’s best and brightest to “tip well.”
McDonnell peppered his commencement speech with aphorisms, including a few very specific lines. (“Always try to follow the rules of the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts. No. 1, Be prepared.”) He also encouraged students to follow the Golden Rule and to “be kind and generous to others”—not altogether different from his predecessor Tim Kaine, who told the UVA Class of 2006 to “use your gifts to benefit other people.”
Holder, who spoke to the UVA Law School graduates, used his comments to commemorate the life and work of UVA alum Robert Kennedy, who Holder dubbed “your most famous predecessor and mine.” As NBC29 reports, Holder also encouraged law grads to “question what is accepted,” a particularly interesting line given the questions recently raised by a UVA law student’s false allegations of police misconduct.
The ceremony also marked President Teresa Sullivan’s first UVA graduation. Her opening remarks, along with the graduation ceremony, may be viewed here.