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UNH School of Law graduates celebrate diversity, acceptance

  • Angelika Wilkerson of Keene receives her hood for her juris doctor degree during the University of New Hampshire School of Law commencement ceremony took place at White Park in Concord on Saturday, May 20, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • The University of New Hampshire School of Law commencement ceremony took place at White Park in Concord on Saturday, May 20, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Master of Laws in Intellectual Property candidate Ivan Chaika speaks during the University of New Hampshire School of Law commencement ceremony at White Park in Concord on Saturday. ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff

  • Brian Greklek-Mckeon of Concord receives his hood for his juris doctor degree during the University of New Hampshire School of Law commencement ceremony at White Park in Concord on Saturday. ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff

  • U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan received an honorary degree and gave the commencement address during the University of New Hampshire School of Law graduation ceremony at White Park in Concord on Saturday. ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff

  • Professor of Law Sophie Sparrow returns to her seat after speaking during the University of New Hampshire School of Law commencement ceremony at White Park in Concord on Saturday, May 20, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • The University of New Hampshire School of Law commencement ceremony took place at White Park in Concord on Saturday, May 20, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • The University of New Hampshire School of Law commencement ceremony took place at White Park in Concord on Saturday, May 20, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • The University of New Hampshire School of Law commencement ceremony took place at White Park in Concord on Saturday, May 20, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • The University of New Hampshire School of Law commencement ceremony took place at White Park in Concord on Saturday, May 20, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • The University of New Hampshire School of Law commencement ceremony took place at White Park in Concord on Saturday, May 20, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • The University of New Hampshire School of Law commencement ceremony took place at White Park in Concord on Saturday, May 20, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • The University of New Hampshire School of Law commencement ceremony took place at White Park in Concord on Saturday, May 20, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • The University of New Hampshire School of Law commencement ceremony took place at White Park in Concord on Saturday, May 20, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • The University of New Hampshire School of Law commencement ceremony took place at White Park in Concord on Saturday, May 20, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • The University of New Hampshire School of Law commencement ceremony took place at White Park in Concord on Saturday, May 20, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • The University of New Hampshire School of Law commencement ceremony took place at White Park in Concord on Saturday, May 20, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • University of New Hampshire Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Nancy Targett speaks during Saturday's UNH School of Law commencement ceremony at White Park in Concord on Saturday, May 20, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • The University of New Hampshire School of Law commencement ceremony took place at White Park in Concord on Saturday, May 20, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Joshua Harrison of Easton, Md., receives his hood for his juris doctor degree during the University of New Hampshire School of Law commencement ceremony took place at White Park in Concord on Saturday, May 20, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • The University of New Hampshire School of Law commencement ceremony took place at White Park in Concord on Saturday, May 20, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • The University of New Hampshire School of Law commencement ceremony took place at White Park in Concord on Saturday, May 20, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • The University of New Hampshire School of Law commencement ceremony took place at White Park in Concord on Saturday, May 20, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • The University of New Hampshire School of Law commencement ceremony took place at White Park in Concord on Saturday, May 20, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • The University of New Hampshire School of Law commencement ceremony took place at White Park in Concord on Saturday, May 20, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • The University of New Hampshire School of Law commencement ceremony took place at White Park in Concord on Saturday, May 20, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • The University of New Hampshire School of Law commencement ceremony took place at White Park in Concord on Saturday, May 20, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • The University of New Hampshire School of Law commencement ceremony took place at White Park in Concord on Saturday, May 20, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • The University of New Hampshire School of Law commencement ceremony took place at White Park in Concord on Saturday, May 20, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • The University of New Hampshire School of Law commencement ceremony took place at White Park in Concord on Saturday, May 20, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • The University of New Hampshire School of Law commencement ceremony took place at White Park in Concord on Saturday, May 20, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • The University of New Hampshire School of Law commencement ceremony took place at White Park in Concord on Saturday, May 20, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • The University of New Hampshire School of Law commencement ceremony took place at White Park in Concord on Saturday, May 20, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Bruce Ho of Shunde, China, receives his juris doctor degree during the University of New Hampshire School of Law commencement ceremony took place at White Park in Concord on Saturday, May 20, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • The University of New Hampshire School of Law commencement ceremony took place at White Park in Concord on Saturday, May 20, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • The University of New Hampshire School of Law commencement ceremony took place at White Park in Concord on Saturday, May 20, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)



Monitor staff
Sunday, May 21, 2017

Ivan Chaika has already gotten good use out of his legal education. He’s run for city council, worked in the Ukrainian Parliament and given free legal aid to members of the military on the frontline of the country’s conflict with Russia.

“I needed to help them,” he said. “Because they need to think about protecting the country, not legal issues.”

Now, the 25-year-old hopes to use a degree he earned in Concord on Saturday to help improve intellectual property in his home country.

Chaika is one of 74 students who graduated from the University of New Hampshire School of Law in a ceremony on the lawn of White Park. His education was funded through a competitive grant, and his experience in New Hampshire was captured by a Ukrainian film crew last fall and aired on television news in the European country.

Chaika, who earned a Master of Laws, was elected by his peers to speak at the commencement.

“My time at law school revealed that real beauty is in diversity,” Chaika said, speaking from behind a podium beneath a big white tent. “It was interesting to learn with students from different countries. It improved our understanding of things.”

Speakers at the hour-long ceremony highlighted a message of acceptance and of maintaining good judgment in a rapidly changing world. Though speakers alluded to fractures in Washington D.C., and in society, none mentioned any politician by name.

Interim dean Jordan Budd urged students to be respectful when dealing with disagreement in the “courts,” the “Legislature,” the “board rooms” and “over the dinner table.”

“By the very nature as the professionals you have become, you will model the exercise of reason and judgement for a society that at times seems to have forgotten how to do so,” Budd told graduates. “You will be custodians of reason in an often unreasonable world.”

U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan urged graduates – no matter their political party – to make their voices heard. She said the country’s democracy depends on it.

“When you speak up about your lives and your values, you have the ability to create real change and impact policies that have a direct effect on the lives of your fellow citizens,” said Hassan, the commencement speaker and an attorney who graduated from Northeastern School of Law.

Chaika hopes to create change in Ukraine, and is pushing to deepen the relationship between the U.S. and his home country through education. He wants more students to get degrees in the U.S., because for so long he said Ukraine was “closed off” from the rest of the world as part of the Soviet Union.

“It was a bad time for Ukraine in general,” he said. “Now we are a young democratic country and we need some time to study. ... because we were isolated.”

Tensions in the region are still high. Fighting broke out between the countries three years ago when Russia annexed a piece of southern Ukraine known as Crimea.

Chaika lived roughly one hour from the fighting. He plans to return, but isn’t exactly sure of his future job. 

After an internship this summer in Washington D.C., Chaika will go back to Ukraine with hopes to boost intellectual property practices.

“I will return to my country with knowledge I have gained in the U.S.,” he said during his speech. “A person or a small team can make a big change.”

(This post has been updated. Allie Morris can be reached at 369-3307 or amorris@cmonitor.com.)