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New York State lieutenant governor to address UB School of Law graduates

BUFFALO, N.Y. – The University at Buffalo School of Law
will host the 77th lieutenant governor of New York State at its
128th Commencement exercises on May 21. The ceremony, which begins
at 3 p.m. in the Center for the Arts, will feature Lt. Gov. Kathy
C. Hochul as the keynote speaker.

The highest-ranking female official elected in New York State,
Hochul chairs 10 regional economic development councils that
include leaders from academia, business, labor and not-for-profits
and, to date, have invested $4 billion into more than 4,100
projects across the state. Hochul also chairs the State Workforce
Investment Board, and the New York State Task Force on Heroin and
Opioid Abuse and Addiction. Since 2015, she has spearheaded Gov.
Cuomo’s Enough is Enough campaign to combat sexual assault on
college campuses.

As lieutenant governor, Hochul is liaison to New York’s
federal representatives in Washington, D.C. From 2011 to 2013, she
served in the U.S. House representing New York’s 26th
Congressional District.

In a recent interview for the law school’s Oral History
Project, Hochul spoke about the law school’s community
impact. “[The law school] draws people from all over the
state,” said Hochul. “These are the people that are now
counsel at different businesses, starting their own businesses and
working at law firms. They’ve become an important part of the
fabric of our community…You can’t underestimate

Among the major recognitions at the commencement ceremonies, the
Ken Joyce Excellence in Teaching Award will be presented to
Christen E. Civiletto, an attorney and author, as well as an
adjunct faculty member at the law school.

“Professor Civiletto joined the adjunct faculty in 2003
and quickly established herself as an exceptional teacher and
mentor,” says S. Todd Brown, vice dean for academic affairs.
“Year after year, students have praised her enthusiasm,
attention to detail, ability to make complex material and
situations relatable, and overall commitment to them.”

Civiletto’s interest in environmental history and justice
led her to research why so many residents in her hometown of
Niagara Falls, New York, were dealing with cancer or other chronic
illnesses. Her findings led to the writing of “Green City
Savior,” an environmentally themed suspense novel set in
Niagara Falls.

Her environmental research also resulted in the filing of a
series of lawsuits stemming from the Love Canal disaster. She is
counsel of record for two mass tort actions related to that
historic event.

In addition, the university will present one of its top awards,
the President’s Medal, to Francis M. Letro, chair of
the UB Foundation, in recognition of his extraordinary service to
the university.

Appointed to the UB Foundation board of trustees in 2008 and
chair since 2012, Letro is founder and partner of Francis M. Letro
Attorneys Counselors at Law. A 1979 graduate of the law
school, Letro has served as vice chair of the law school’s
Dean’s Advisory Council since 2008, and as a member of its
Campaign Steering Committee in 2009.

In 2012, he received the Edwin F. Jaeckle Award, the highest
honor presented by the School of Law and the Law Alumni
Association, in recognition of his service to the law profession
and his sustained support of, and impact on, UB and the law


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