Duquesne law school plans centennial events

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When Duquesne University School of Law was founded in 1911, its mission was to help the children of immigrants enter the professional ranks.

It started out as a part-time, evening program and stayed that way long into the 1950s -- to accommodate working students' schedules.

Since that time, enrollment in the full-time day program has grown to 672 students, and Duquesne has produced more judges -- more than 100 still living -- than any other law school in Pennsylvania.

This year, it will mark its 100th anniversary bringing in a number of high-profile speakers.

Among those committed to participate are U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, author Scott Turow and U.S. Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito.

Gov.-elect Tom Corbett is slated to be commencement speaker.

Mr. Holder will be kickoff speaker for the centennial celebration Feb. 23, while Mr. Turow will speak at the annual law alumni reunion dinner April 16.

Justice Alito will serve as the distinguished lecturer at the law school's Summer Study of Law in Rome in July, where he will lecture on the topic of comparative constitutional law. Justice Scalia will be keynote speaker at the centennial black tie gala Sept. 24.

When planning the anniversary events, Law School Dean Ken Gormley, who attended Harvard Law, remembered what an impression it made on him when nationally recognized speakers visited campus.

"I wanted our students and alumni to be able to see these people in the flesh and [know] that it is possible to reach the pinnacle of your profession by working hard," Mr. Gormley said.

The centennial will not only allow the law school to showcase itself, Mr. Gormley said, but will help galvanize students and alumni. "People are fired up, and I'm one of them."

For Mr. Gormley, bringing in high-profile speakers is a way to honor the university.

"Duquesne law school has been an integral part of this city for 100 years," Mr. Gormley said. "We're treating it like a big deal because it is a big deal."

For more information on the law school's 100th anniversary, go to: www.duq.edu/law/centennial.

Paula Reed Ward: pward@post-gazette.com or 412-263-2620.


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