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Chapman University School of Law Groundbreaking Ceremony, 1 Chapman Law Review 1 (1998)


We are here today as witnesses, to observe and celebrate an inaugural act. In material terms, the act itself is trivial. It consists of the movement of a spadeful of earth. But the meaning of the act transcends its physical effects. One might even say that the triviality of the act, in one realm, is deliberately designed to display its immensity in another, in the unseen realm of traditions and commitments. The legal profession is an ancient calling, rich in memory and achievements. This morning, we break ground for a new law library, the heart of a new law school, and by this single simple act link this new school backwards in time to the traditions of the profession whose long history it now joins. The act of groundbreaking gives the Chapman University School of Law a past by making it heir to the traditions of the legal profession. But it also gives the school a future by declaring its commitment to sustain these traditions, whose survival is now as much in Chapman's hands as every other law school's in the country. With a single spadeful of earth, the Chapman University School of Law declares itself the inheritor of the past and the trustee of the future, and enters the realm of traditions and commitments that forms the stream of human time. That is what we are here today to solemnize as witnesses.

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