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Chief Justice awarded 15th honorary doctorate of law degree

Madison, Wisconsin - May 23, 2007

Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice Shirley S. Abrahamson received an honorary doctorate of law degree from Roger Williams University’s Ralph R. Papitto School of Law on May 18 in Bristol, R.I.

Abrahamson also was the featured speaker at the law school's commencement ceremony, at which she delivered her remarks: "A View from the Bench."

In conferring the degree – the 15th honorary doctorate of law degree awarded to Abrahamson – law school officials noted the significance and impact of some of Abrahamson's many accomplishments:

"Chief Justice Shirley S. Abrahamson, your path-breaking judicial career, your dedication to public service and the administration of justice and your intellectual curiosity serve as an example to all of our graduates, and we are honored to award you this Doctor of Laws, honoris causa."

The degree was conferred by Ronald A. Cass and Atty. Roscoe C. Howard, members of the law school's board of directors. Providence, R.I. Mayor David N. Cicilline also awarded Abrahamson a citizen citation during the visit. The citation recognized Abrahamson's accomplishments in the field of law and for serving as an inspiration to students.

In her speech, Abrahamson encouraged graduating law students to be courageous and committed to democracy, justice and judicial independence. She urged them to take risks in accepting and facing life's challenges in their careers, relationships and in exercising social and political responsibility:

"I am here to remind you that the diploma you receive today is not a mere piece of paper. It is an instrument for democracy and doing justice. For more than 200 years, Americans have shared a vision of democracy in which our basic freedoms are protected and in which all our people contribute their diverse talents and energies to solve local and national problems. I urge you – graduates and guests alike – to let your voices be heard to protect and perfect our democracy and our rights and responsibilities under law."

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