Diploma Ceremony: Welcoming Remarks by Ru (Alice) Bai, LL.M. ’15

  • Words of Welcome
    Words of Welcome  Ru (Alice) Bai, LL.M. '15 addresses the Class of 2015 and assembled family members and friends at the May 17 ceremony.  Photo by Gretchen Bedell
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Good morning! Chancellor Gates, Dean Douglas, professors, faculty, families, friends and most important, graduates of the Class of 2015. I am very honored to stand here to speak with you.

Now I am feeling excited and nervous. Just how I felt when I came to study here from China. At that time, I was terrified that I might not ultimately survive with piles of reading materials and cold calls. I walk by the statutes of John Marshall & George Wythe in front of the law school every day, and they appear to be telling me every morning, "Don’t screw it up, kid."

But, I really want to say thank you to the professors, faculty, students and all the lovely people in Williamsburg who made me settle down and be brave and calm to face my new life here. And more importantly, they broke the stereotype of law school and motivated me to pursue my own life's passion.

In the movie "Legally Blonde," I heard from Elle’s father about people in law school. He said, “Oh, sweetheart, you don't need law school. Law school is for people who are ugly, boring and serious.” I can say for sure that he never met the people in front of me now. Can you imagine ten generous professors sitting in front of the law school one day, being drenched by students for the Ice Bucket Challenge?  Can you imagine our distinguished Professor [Jennifer] Stevenson dares not say the word “cat” in front of her dog Bizu?  Can you imagine ordering your favorite cupcake from Professor Griffin when attending his LL.M. review session?  

My experiences here established a black letter law that we do not need to live our life under any stereotypes or social expectations. Just focus on creating your own lifestyles and pursing your own passions. To those of you who, either after graduating today or after practicing, find your passion misplaced, or even worse, lost, stop! Your LL.M. or J.D. degree needs not be a precedent that binds you to practice. Let it be your foundation from which you can find your own way to apply what you have learned.

Let me cite a rule here from Dr. Seuss: "Today is your day. You are off to great places. You can steer yourself to any direction you choose."  Hope one day when I encounter you guys on the road, we have some awesome stories to talk about. Congratulations. I honor you all and good luck. But no goodbyes, just "see you later."