Ladies and Gentleman, graduating students, faculty, friends, my family, good afternoon. My name is Shajee Hanfi and I welcome you all here to William & Mary, one of the oldest and most prestigious law schools in the world.
First of all, I would like to thank God for giving me this opportunity to speak for my graduating class and to be on stage with these highly accomplished individuals. It’s an honor to represent my class here on this important day of my life. I would like to thank the entire law school, my professors, without whom this degree would not have been possible, the Dean for leading such a brilliant law school, my family who believed in me and my country, Pakistan.
It really has been a journey, or rather a battle of the nerves, between the law students and those thick books, which I used to carry all day long. But it would be wrong to say that I learnt only what was in those books. No, never. It’s the new experiment you do everyday, it’s the way you frame your mind every day, learning from the past and practicing in the present that make you who you are. We are citizen lawyers; we are leaders, politicians, scholars, professors and future judges. We contribute to the society every day, every second.
We LL.M.s are students from different parts of the globe, from Asia, from Europe, from the Far East, and we all have contributed to the law school and its community. We LL.M.s bring diversity and knowledge of our legal systems, only to learn more as students here. We bring our culture, views and opinions, which blend in with the knowledge we get from here, and we go on to become global lawyers and to be part of this growing global legal fraternity. From presentations to meetings with scholars, this experience has been truly rewarding. I was here to learn the American Legal system, but little did I know that leaving today I would have gained knowledge of so much more. We are from Italy, Poland, India, Russia, China, Malaysia, Thailand, Algeria and Pakistan. These are just to name a few. It would be wrong of me and my class not to give thanks to the J.D. class and community for accepting us as fellow learners and helping us settle in. Words cannot describe how helpful they have been to us. From getting us involved in various societies to individual mentoring, they have been very kind.
I was fortunate enough to be the LL.M. representative of the Student Bar Association. This was one of the most significant experiences where I got involved in the student body and got to know about day-to-day issues. It helped me develop as a student and hopefully in the future as a leader. It was also through this platform where we LL.M.s were able to express our views to the law school community.
A three-minute speech is not enough time to describe the experience we all had during the whole year. I leave this stage with memories to cherish. I leave this stage with new knowledge. I leave my friends and my professors that have written one of the most important chapters in my life. Looking at them, one can only praise their intellect. It’s with this regret of leaving them but with hope of a good future that we leave this university.
I congratulate and wish the greatest of success to the Class of 2016. Congratulations, you’ve done it.
Thank you, all.
Thank you, God.
Thomas Jefferson founded William & Mary Law School in 1779 to train leaders for the new nation. Now in its third century, America's oldest law school continues its historic mission of educating citizen lawyers who are prepared both to lead and to serve.