Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist addresses Penn State Law graduates

May 23, 2011

Supreme Court journalist Linda Greenhouse addressed the Penn State Law class of 2011 and hundreds of their friends and family members at commencement on May 21. The ceremony recognized 196 J.D. and LL.M. degree recipients and awarded an honorary doctor of laws to Greenhouse.

“You are leaving this special place in a time of change and ambiguity for the legal profession. But I know you’re leaving armed with not only particular skills that will be tested soon enough on the bar exam but with the vision to chart your life’s course in a complicated world that needs you more than ever,” she said. Greenhouse explained that she was “deeply honored” to join the fellowship of Penn State. 

Greenhouse praised the Law School for its focus on international law and “values-infused” curriculum that offered many opportunities for public service. She predicted that the skills graduates acquired at Penn State Law will serve them well on the road ahead.

“Ms. Greenhouse is one of the country’s most renowned legal journalists. A Supreme Court scholar, author, and Pulitzer-prize winner for journalism, her reporting has illuminated Supreme Court decisions and their implications, helping the public to appreciate and understand the Court and its role in government,” said Penn State University Provost Rodney Erickson, who presented the honorary degree.

Greenhouse covered the Supreme Court for the "New York Times" between 1978 and 2008. She received several major journalism awards during her 40-year career at the Times, including the Pulitzer Prize (1998) and the Goldsmith Career Award for Excellence in Journalism from Harvard University’s Kennedy School (2004). Her biography of Justice Harry A. Blackmun, "Becoming Justice Blackmun," was published in 2005. Her latest book "Before Roe v. Wade: Voices that Shaped the Abortion Debate Before the Supreme Court’s Ruling" (with Reva B. Siegel) was published in 2010.

The class of J.D. and LL.M. candidates is comprised of students from across the United States and from Kyrgyzstan, China, Italy, South Korea and the Netherlands. The Class of 2011 includes 44 certified public interest law advocates who have completed at least 60 hours of legal public service.

Pursuant to Law School tradition, several graduates received degrees from relatives who also are alumni of the Dickinson School of Law, including Keenan Klett, who received his degree from Edwin Klett of the Class of 1962; Adam Mott, who received his degree from John C. Mott, Class of 1980, Erin Marie Redding, who received her degree from Patrick J. Redding, Class of 1978; and Christopher Walker, who received his degree from fiancée Rebecca Sarles, a member of Class of 2010.

Joshua Leaver was one of two graduates selected by his class to speak. “Over the last three years we’ve been pushed beyond our limits time and time again … It’s time for us to put these degrees to use and get to work,” he said.

For photos of the day's events, click here.

  • Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Linda Greenhouse addressed Penn State Law's class of 2011 during commencement ceremonies held May 21 in Eisenhower Auditorium on the University Park campus. Greenhouse accepted an honorary doctor of laws from Penn State during the ceremony.

    IMAGE: Penn State

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated July 22, 2015