134th Commencement Address
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With Dr. Peter K. Kilpatrick, President of The Catholic University of America, standing beside her, Mary Graw Leary, Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Law, introduced Rachael Denhollander, recipient of The Catholic University of America’s President’s Medal. Denhollander, a lawyer and former gymnast, was the first woman to publicly denounce and pursue criminal charges against USA Gymnastics’s former team doctor Larry Nassar. Named “the bravest person I have ever had in my courtroom” by trial judge Rosemarie Aquilina, Denhollander’s pursuit of justice has demonstrated to fellow survivors the unassailable force with which she has refused to let her victimization define her. Indeed, this sentiment permeated the Basilica as well, and President Kilpatrick, referencing this feat later, during his closing remarks, labelled her the representation of “moral courage in the face of adversity.” Following her acceptance of the award from President Kilpatrick, Denhollander addressed the Class of 2023, challenging its graduates to follow the charge written millennia ago in the Book of Micah and chiseled—more recently, in 1994—into the west façade of the Columbus School of Law building: “Do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).
Denhollander, Rachael, "134th Commencement Address" (2023). Commencement Addresses. 18.