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University of Maine School of Law Commencement Features Keynote Address by New York Times Reporter Steven Greenhouse

Steven Greenhouse of The New York Times will be the keynote speaker at the University of Maine School of Law commencement, scheduled for 10 a.m., this Saturday, May 23, in Merrill Auditorium, Portland. Greenhouse, considered one of the few remaining full-time labor reporters in the country, has written about wage trends, labor unions, immigrant workers and child labor. His new book, “The Big Squeeze: Tough Times for the American Worker,” explores how some American companies have affected millions of workers by cutting benefits and wages and lessening job security. For his work on “The Big Squeeze,” Greenhouse was named the 2009 recipient of the Sidney Hillman Foundation Book Award, awarded to those whose literary work fosters social and economic justice. Greenhouse joined the Times in 1983 after graduating from Wesleyan University, the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, and the New York University School of Law. He has been a guest on MSNBC, CNN, the BBC, PBS and National Public Radio. Benjamin Joel Tucker, class of 2009, will give the student address. He graduated from Brunswick High School and from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service in 1996. Tucker worked as a political aide in Washington, D.C., Boston, and August before entering law school. During his academic career at the School of Law, he was an editor on the Maine Law Review. Elected to the Brunswick Town Council in 2007, Tucker lives in Brunswick with his wife, Ana Hicks, and their daughter Ilsa. School of Law graduate Vendean V. Vafiades, class of 1985, will receive the L. Kinvin Wroth Award, an annual outstanding alumni award. Vafiades is a commissioner for the Maine Public Utilities Commission. From 1997 until her appointment as PUC Commissioner in 2007 Vafiades served as a judge on the Maine District Court, and in 2002 was appointed as the Chief District Court Judge. Her service on the bench included assisting the Maine Legislature in child protection reforms and in securing support for the Family Drug Treatment Court. Prior to her appointment as judge, Vafiades, a USM graduate, served as a chief deputy attorney general and as counsel to the University of Maine System. There are 93 members of the School of Law’s class of 2009.

Press Release
Bob Caswell of USM Public Affairs