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Hemanth Gundavaram Delivers Commencement Speech To Northeastern University Graduating Law Students

Anil Saigal

Hemanth Gundavaram, a teaching professor who directs Northeastern’s Immigrant Justice Clinic was chosen by the graduating class to deliver the faculty address.

Professor Gundavaram joined the Northeastern University School of Law faculty in 2014. He is the co-founder and co-director of the school’s Immigrant Justice Clinic. He also teaches Immigration Law and Administrative Law. Prior to joining the Northeastern community, he completed a teaching fellowship in the Boston University School of Law Immigrants’ Rights Clinic.

Professor Gundavaram received his law degree from Boston University School of Law and his BS in journalism from Boston University College of Communication. After law school, he joined the global law firm of Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky & Popeo as a litigation associate. He then served as an attorney at the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit before transitioning to full-time teaching.

In 2019, Professor Gundavaram received the Faculty Service Award and was voted by the graduating class as the faculty commencement speaker. A frequent public speaker on immigration law, he has appeared on Fox News (Tucker Carlson Tonight), WCVB (CityLine) and NECN (The Take). He has also been quoted in various news outlets, including USA Today, Politifact and The Christian Science Monitor.

In his address, he offered the graduates some advice for getting their dream jobs. It starts, he said, with paying attention.

“You need to realize when you’re doing something you love,” Gundavaram said. “If you haven’t found what you love yet, you will. When you do, pay attention to it.”

Getting a dream job means tuning out the critics, putting in the extra effort, being persistent, and reaching for that dream before you feel ready, he said.

Gundavaram told the graduates that when they crossed the stage, they’d be draped with a hood over their shoulders and be handed a diploma, but it represented more than that.

“What will be draped over your shoulders is responsibility, and what will be handed to you is power,” he said.

“We know in this world that the thing about responsibility is that it can be neglected, and power can be misused. I know you all know that because you watch Game of Thrones,” Gundavaram said, referring to the hit show about families of kings and queens vying for the throne. “I know you’ll be Starks and not Lannisters,” he added, comparing the graduates to the heroes of the tale, not the villains.

Commencement Address:  https://youtu.be/V3951Zpv5XM

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