Senator Cowan urges BC Law grads to find balance between net worth, self-worth

Interim US Senator William “Mo” Cowan urged Boston ­College Law School graduates Friday to “find proper balance between your net worth and your self-worth.”

Net worth “often seems to be the only measure that popular culture cares about,” Cowan told the 272 graduates and about 1,500 of their friends and family during the commencement inside Conte Forum. “We obsess over starting salaries, bonuses, raises, interest, and investments. But you won’t find too many blogs quantifying your self-worth, because your self-worth is the immeasurable return on one’s investment in pursuing a full life with true purpose, while making a difference in our world.”

Cowan, a Democrat and former chief of staff to Governor Deval Patrick, was appointed by Patrick on Feb. 1 to fill the seat vacated by John F. Kerry, an alumnus of BC Law who became US secretary of state. Cowan will soon relinquish the seat to the winner of a June 25 special election.


Cowan told the graduates that a law degree is versatile, “the Swiss Army Knife of graduate degrees,” and said that “critical thinking or reasoning” is the “corkscrew” of their degree.

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“Graduates, as you survey the life and career paths before you, consider how the meaningful application of your ­exquisite Swiss Army knife of a degree, especially application of your critical thinking, can lead to greater investment in your self-worth,” he said.

“Your true career path will be as clear as a bell, and you will know how best to utilize that versatile tool of remarkably infinite utility,” Cowan added.

Cowan, the first African-American to represent Massachusetts in the US Senate since Republican Edward Brooke held the seat from 1966-1978, said he has not decided what he will do when his Senate job ends.

“I’ve been focused on the work” in the Senate, he said in an interview after the commencement. “But I hope to continue to have some involvement in public policy, even as I return to the private sector.

Matt Rocheleau can be reached at matthew.rocheleau@­