234 graduates received their Juris Doctor degrees at Mitchell Hamline’s spring commencement on Sunday, May 20. The new graduates join the ranks of more than 20,000 alumni.
Hon. Anne McKeig ’92 delivered the commencement address. McKeig, who grew up on the Leech Lake Reservation, was appointed to the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2016 and was the first Native American to be named to the state’s highest court.
McKeig told the graduates there were times she doubted her ability to do the job, even after she was appointed by Gov. Mark Dayton. She said a meeting with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first justice of Hispanic descent, changed her mind. McKeig asked Sotomayor if she ever felt that she didn’t belong on the U.S. Supreme Court. “Every day,” Sotomayor responded. “And that is why you (McKeig) are where you’re supposed to be.”
McKeig gave the new graduates a pep talk, telling them there will be trying times when they’ll think “I don’t know if I can do this, I don’t know if I fit in, I don’t know if I should take this chance, I don’t know if I’m the right one.” McKeig told them not to think that way. “Do not shut the door on yourselves,” she said. “Do not be the barrier to your own success. Because let me tell you, if a gal from Federal Dam, Minnesota, can make it to the Minnesota Supreme Court, you can do anything.”
Photos of the event provided by Steve Woit Photography.