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Hon. F. Dennis Saylor IV to deliver 2021 commencement address


BOSTON – May 17, 2021 – New England Law | Boston is pleased to announce plans for its 110th commencement, taking place Friday, May 21, 2021, at the Boch Center’s Wang Theatre in Boston. Graduates will be honored at two in-person ceremonies with up to three guests each.

All members of the class of 2021 are listed in the commencement program

“Our graduates deserve the best possible celebration we can give them,” said President and Dean Scott P. Brown. “I want to commend state and local officials for working with us to put together an approved plan that allows us to continue our tradition of holding commencement in the historic Wang Theatre while abiding by COVID regulations to keep everyone safe. I’m especially glad that we’re able to welcome three guests for each of our graduates and live-stream the ceremonies so additional family and friends can watch and cheer from afar.”

Commencement Address

The Honorable F. Dennis Saylor IV, Chief U.S. District Judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, will address the graduates at both ceremonies. Judge Saylor was nominated by President George W. Bush in 2003 and confirmed by the U.S. Senate in 2004. He became Chief Judge on January 1, 2020. He also served a seven-year term on the U.S. Federal Intelligence Surveillance Court.

Prior to his judicial career, Judge Saylor worked in private practice at Goodwin, served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the District of Massachusetts, and served as special counsel and chief of staff to the Assistant Attorney General–Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. Judge Saylor received his B.S. from Northwestern University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.

During commencement, Chairman of the New England Law Board of Trustees Diana L. Wheeler will present Judge Saylor with an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree to recognize his distinguished career in public service and his leadership of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.

Honorary Degree Recipients 

In addition to Chief Judge Saylor, New England Law will also be recognizing the following accomplished individuals with honorary degrees:

  • Former Mayor and Ambassador Raymond Flynn will receive an Honorary Doctor of Humanities degree. He served as the 52nd Mayor of Boston, Massachusetts, from 1984 to 1993. He was later appointed U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican by President Bill Clinton.

  • Reverend J. Bryan Hehir will deliver our invocation and benediction and will receive an Honorary Doctor of Humanities degree for his influential work as a public theologian.

  • John Laing, Chief Experience and Diversity Officer for the Executive Offices of the Massachusetts Trial Court and New England Law diversity and inclusion adviser, will receive an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree.

  • Karen Morton, Executive Vice President and Global Chief Compliance Officer for Liberty Mutual Insurance Company, will receive an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree for her service to her community.


New England Law will welcome 154 Juris Doctor degree recipients and 1 Master of Laws recipient to its global alumni network this year.

Sofia Nuño Unanue is the class of 2021 Full-Time Program Valedictorian and will speak at the 11am ceremony. The class of 2021 Part-Time Program Valedictorian is Danielle Walsh who will speak at the 3:30pm ceremony.


Both ceremonies will be live-streamed from the New England Law | Boston Facebook page: