General Vincent K. Brooks (ret.)
BOSTON – April 23, 2019 – New England Law | Boston, the only ABA-accredited independent law school in Massachusetts, is pleased to announce plans for its 2019 Commencement ceremony, taking place on Friday, May 17, at 11:00 a.m. at the Boch Center Wang Theatre in Boston. This year, General Vincent K. Brooks, a recently retired four-star Army general, will address the graduates. General Brooks is one of 237 people to achieve this rank and one of only eight African Americans in the history of the Army to do so. During the ceremony, Chairman of the New England Law Board of Trustees Martin C. Foster will present General Brooks with an honorary doctor of humanities degree to recognize his accomplishments.
General Brooks has broken barriers, led with distinction, and achieved great success since the early days of his military career. The son and brother of Army generals, he graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1980, where he became the first black cadet to hold the highest position achievable for a West Point Cadet—Cadet Brigade Commander of the United States Corps of Cadets—a position also known as “First Captain.” Years later he was, for a time, the youngest general officer in the Army. Throughout his career, General Brooks has received many military honors and decorations with the highest being the Defense Distinguished Service Medal. At the time of his retirement in 2018, General Brooks was the top commander of all U.S. and Korean forces—more than 680,000 soldiers from all of the military branches from each country in Korea during a pivotal time that changed the situation from a high potential of war to one reflecting a high potential of peace.
“We are honored that General Brooks has accepted our invitation to visit the law school in May,” said Dean John F. O’Brien. “His career has been one of trailblazing accomplishments and unparalleled leadership, and his words will surely inspire our graduates as they enter life after law school and begin their own careers.”
During the ceremony, New England Law leadership will also present honorary doctor of humanities degrees to William G. Gross, Commissioner, Boston Police Department, who made history in August 2018 when he was sworn in as Boston’s first African American police commissioner, and to Rabbi Jane L. Kanarek, Ph.D., Associate Dean and Professor at Hebrew College. Both honorees are known for their exemplary leadership and commitment to their respective communities.
New England Law will welcome 146 graduates to its extensive alumni network at this year’s Commencement.