Hon. Rose H. Sconiers ’73, a retired justice of the New York State Supreme Court’s Appellate Division, will bring the perspective of a lifetime of legal service to the stage when she delivers the keynote address at UB School of Law’s 134th Commencement ceremony.
The ceremony is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. on May 21 in the Center for the Arts, on the University at Buffalo’s North Campus.
Justice Sconiers’ career has included terms as the City of Buffalo’s assistant corporation counsel, as a Buffalo City Court judge, and as executive attorney of the Legal Aid Bureau of Buffalo. She was elected to state Supreme Court in 1993 and re-elected in 2007, before her appointment to the Appellate Division, Fourth Department, in 2010. She retired from that position in 2016.
Justice Sconiers also has pursued significant initiatives to improve the administration of justice in New York State, having served on the Unified Court System Advisory Committee on Criminal Law and Procedure, the Jury Project, and the Commission on Fiduciary Appointments. She was instrumental in the establishment of New York State’s Franklin H. Williams Judicial Commission, which educates and advises decision makers in the New York Court System on issues affecting both employees and litigants of color. She chaired the Commission from 2009-2015.
A past president of the UB Law Alumni Association, she has been part of numerous boards of directors, including for the New York State Defenders Association and currently, as chair, with the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo. She is also an emeritus member of the UB Law Dean's Advisory Council.
“I have learned over the years, if you’re not at the table, your voice is not heard,” she has said. “I think we have an obligation to stay engaged.”
Justice Sconiers’ keynote address will follow remarks by Dean Aviva Abramovsky.
This year's student speaker, Chanel Powell, is a U.S. Army veteran and served a deployment in Iraq. Powell is a peer mentor for student veterans, a peer advocate for the law school, and served as president of the First-Generation Law Students Association and on the board of a new SUNY-wide Armed Services-Affiliated Advisory Board.
Two others will receive significant honors as part of the ceremony. The Dean’s Medal, which recognizes “distinguished commitment to justice and the rule of law,” will be presented this year to an organization—the 5/14 Survivors Fund, which supports those affected by the racially motivated mass shooting at a Buffalo Tops store last year. Rev. Mark Blue, co-chair of the fund’s steering committee (and also president of the Buffalo chapter of the NAACP), will accept the award.
The Ken Joyce Excellence in Teaching Award, designated for “a member of the adjunct faculty for excellent teaching and longstanding service to the School of Law,” will be given to Glenn Murray. Murray has taught courses at the law school for many years covering white-collar crime and the jury trial. He’s also taught Introduction to Law and the Legal Process at the undergraduate level. A longtime criminal defense and civil rights attorney in Buffalo, he now serves as a New York State administrative law judge.
Elizabeth Kraengel '07, UB Law Alumni Association president, will welcome the graduates to the alumni community.