Press Release

Governor Pat Quinn Gives NIU Law 2014 Commencement Address

Illinois Senator Toi W. Hutchinson Among the Members of the Class of 2014

Northern Illinois University College of Law held its 2014 Commencement Ceremony on May 24, where Illinois Governor Pat Quinn served as the Commencement Speaker. Distinguished members of the platform party included (from left): NIU President Doug Baker; Illinois Senator Toi W. Hutchinson, also a member of the NIU Law graduating Class of 2014; Commencement Speaker Governor Pat Quinn; NIU Law Dean Jennifer Rosato Perea; and Illinois Senate President John J. Cullerton, who hooded Senator Hutchinson during the ceremony.

Northern Illinois University College of Law held its 2014 Commencement Ceremony on May 24, where Illinois Governor Pat Quinn served as the Commencement Speaker. Distinguished members of the platform party included (from left): NIU President Doug Baker; Illinois Senator Toi W. Hutchinson, also a member of the NIU Law graduating Class of 2014; Commencement Speaker Governor Pat Quinn; NIU Law Dean Jennifer Rosato Perea; and Illinois Senate President John J. Cullerton, who hooded Senator Hutchinson during the ceremony.

May 29, 2014

DeKalb, Ill. – The Northern Illinois University College of Law held its 2014 Commencement Exercises on Saturday, May 24th at the NIU Convocation Center in DeKalb, IL. Illinois Governor Pat Quinn honored the occasion by delivering the commencement address and 99 graduates were awarded their Juris Doctorate degrees.

During his address, Governor Quinn emphasized the key role of lawyers and legal professionals in shaping policy and action in the political arena by drafting laws. He also spoke of his close personal connection to the law, having served as an attorney, and how his legal education and experience has shaped his term as Governor. Quinn lauded the achievements of the College of Law, in particular its devotion to public service law and its creation of new lawyers committed to improving their communities and maintaining a mission of helping those in need.

Governor Quinn highlighted the efforts of Illinois State Senator Toi W. Hutchinson, who was among the members of the NIU Law Class of 2014. Governor Quinn recognized Senator Hutchinson as a leader and champion of the rights of women and the under-represented. Senator Hutchinson was unanimously appointed to serve as the Illinois State Senator of the 40th Congressional District while she was a student at NIU Law in 2009, and she continued her degree on a part-time basis. Receiving the final diploma of the ceremony, Senator Hutchinson was hooded by Illinois State Senate President John J. Cullerton.

In addition to Governor Quinn, Senate President Cullerton, Senator Hutchinson, and Dean Rosato Perea, distinguished members of the platform party also included NIU President Doug Baker; NIU Provost Lisa Freeman; Illinois Representative of the 49th District & NIU Professor Dr. Mike Fortner; NIU Board of Trustees Chair John R. Butler and members Robert T. Boey, Robert T. Marshall, Jr., and Marc J. Strauss; NIU Law Board of Visitors Chair Louis G. Apostol; NIU Law Alumni Council President Kenya Jenkins-Wright; NIU Vice President Dr. Lesley Rigg; Interim Vice President Brad Hoey; and numerous NIU Law faculty and staff.

Other highlights from the ceremony included inspirational messages from Dean Jennifer Rosato Perea, Professor of the Year David Taylor, and Class Speaker Tom O’Grady. Scholarship award winners from the graduating class were recognized and tributes were paid to retiring members of the NIU Law faculty and staff. The ceremony concluded with a reception, where the graduates and their guests continued the celebration of their achievements.

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For more information, contact:
Melody Mitchell
Alumni Events & Public Relations
(815) 753-9655 or

mmitchell@niu.edu