Justice O'Connor tells grads to 'aim high'; video and photo gallery available

Note: To replace programs damaged by rain, Gettysburg College has mailed new copies to graduates and their families. Anyone who has not received a new Commencement program can contact Kathy Criasia, executive assistant to the President, at kcriasia@gettysburg.edu or 717-337-6012.

GETTYSBURG, Pa. - Former United States Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor spoke to 645 graduates May 18 at Gettysburg College's Commencement Exercises, charging them to "aim high...if you always strive for excellence you can and should have a substantial impact on the world in which you live."

In 1981, President Ronald Reagan nominated O'Connor to the Supreme Court, where she served until her retirement in 2006. She was the first woman to serve on the United States Supreme Court. Her record on the court reflects an effort to keep decisions narrowly focused, not making sweeping changes to the law. She was seen as centrist and cast the deciding vote in several important cases related to abortion rights and discrimination. Since her retirement, O'Connor has worked to promote an independent judiciary and has become chancellor of the College of William and Mary.

Sunday's Commencement was the 173rd at Gettysburg College, a highly selective four-year residential college of liberal arts and sciences. It also included the recognition of three individuals with honorary degrees from the college: Justice O'Connor, Rev. Dr. Rudolph Featherstone, who became the college's first African-American graduate in 1956, and Dr. Paul Muchinsky, a 1969 Gettysburg College graduate and professor of business. Paul Roedel, parent of a 1986 Gettysburg College graduate, received the Lavern H. Brenneman Award for Exemplary Volunteer Service, which was established to honor the 1936 graduate.

With a student body of approximately 2,600, Gettysburg College is located on a 200-acre campus adjacent to the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania. The college was founded in 1832.

Highlights Video  

Photo Gallery

Justice O'Connor's video and speech

President Will's speech

Student speaker's speech  

 

Posted: Sun, 18 May 2008

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