Marilyn Gardner Milton


About Marilyn Gardner Milton

Marilyn Gardner Milton’s career in education began when she entered college. Her first steps towards this career choice were accomplished when she graduated from the University of Connecticut with her Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Education. After finishing her time at UConn, she continued her education by splitting her Masters of Education (M.Ed) between Boston State College and Framingham State University, both based in and around the Boston, Massachusetts area. In 1987 Marilyn finished the journey to earn her Ph.D. She graduated from Boston College with her Ph.D. in Educational Administration and Supervision as well as a minor in Computer Science. While both degrees would be of great use in her future, Marilyn wasn’t quite done yet. She finished her education by getting her Juris Doctorate (J.D.) from Suffolk University Law school, where she was also awarded the American Jurisprudence Award for Excellence: Commercial Law.

In 1985 Marilyn Gardner Milton made her first foray into the world of distance learning administration, as well as the first of her roles consulting. She became the Executive Consultant for The Center for Educational Leadership and Technology and held that position until 1995. In 1994 Marilyn became the Executive Director and the Director of Education at the Boston, Massachusetts based Computer Museum, a position she held until 1997. In 2006 she became Director of Business Development for the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA), a position she holds to this day.

In 1997 Marilyn began her career in the administration of higher education institutes. She was appointed to be the Vice-President of Academic Affairs for the Massachusetts Communications College and the New England Institute of Art. In 2001 she became the Vice-President of Academic Affairs for Bay State College and in 2006 she became a Program Professor and Education Enterprise Associate for Nova Southeastern University, one of the largest non-profit accredited universities in the country. A position she holds to this day.

The Different Law Degrees

The Different Law Degrees

In the United States, three typical classifications of law degrees exist, the Juris Doctor, the Master of Laws, and the Doctor of Juridical Science. However, despite the fact that all three are graduate degrees, each has a different purpose and each must be studied in the proper sequence. Additionally, each degree exists for a specific purpose.

A number of law schools offer other degrees, often masters level degrees for journalists, paralegals, or others who could benefit from an advanced knowledge of law. While the degrees in question are taught by legal faculty, they are not accepted as law degrees.

Juris Doctor

The initial degree in law that American students earn is the Juris Doctor. It is a three year graduate degree earned after completing an undergraduate degree. Unlike many other countries, law is studied as a graduate subject in the United States. The first year of the JD is spent on the same basic subjects of law regardless of which law school is attended, with later years allowing greater specialization. For more attorneys, this will be the only law degree that they ever need; Supreme Court Justices and top law professors often achieve their goals with nothing more than a Juris Doctor.

Master of Laws

A Master of Laws is a year-long degree taken after a JD that is typically earned for one of three reasons. First, and most commonly, an LL.M is useful for those students who want to specialize in a given area of law but, due to limitations of their JD program or the trajectory of their career, have been unable to do so. This is especially common in technical areas like taxation or aviation, or more cutting-edge fields like tech law.

Second, LL.Ms are typically earned by foreign-trained lawyers looking for experience in the American legal system. This is especially true for those looking to spend part of their career in the United States; many states permit foreign-trained lawyers who earn an LL.M to sit for the bar exam.

Finally, LL.Ms allow for lawyers looking to transition into legal teaching and research time to fine-tune their work, as well as gain greater focus in a specific field of law.

Doctor of Juridical Science

The final law degree routinely earned in the US is the Doctor of Juridical Science, typically abbreviated as the JSD or the SJD. It is a research degree, much like a Ph.D, that is earned upon completing an LL.M. Only a handful of law schools offer the program, and it is typically very difficult to gain entry into. In the overwhelming majority of cases, only those interested in becoming law professors typically pursue a JSD.

Inspirational Commencement Speeches: Shonda Rhymes

Inspirational Commencement Speeches: Shonda Rhymes

I’m feeling inspired and reflective from the greatest graduation speeches of all time. I’ve written about the four truths from Joyce DiDonato, the story of success from Ellen DeGeneres, the importance of choosing kindness from Jeff Bezos, and the lesson of perseverance from Former President Obama. This month, I’m writing about Shonda Rhymes’ commencement speech at Dartmouth College in 2014.

The famous television producer, Shonda Rhymes, gave the 2014 commencement speech at her alma mater, Dartmouth College. Her frank, straightforward style of speaking was an inspiration to all the students, family, and faculty in the audience.

Rhymes discusses dreams. She mentions that even though dreams are nice to have, they are only just dreams. Without the hard work and determination, they will never be more than just a dream. She uses her own experience as an example. She never dreamed of being the famous television producer she is today. She wanted to with a Nobel Prize like the author Toni Morrison. She worker like crazy to make that happen. She realized she couldn’t be Toni Morrison because that person already exists and wasn’t about to give up her title anytime soon. This made her realize, you can either spend your time dreaming, or you could do.

Lesson two from Rhymes is that the day after graduation is the worst day ever. College is the best time of your life and the real world is scary. To the rest of the world, once you graduate with your degree, you’re now at the bottom of the heap. You may think you’re taking the world by storm, that all doors will be open to you, but you’re wrong.

This all sounds daunting and quite the opposite of inspirational, but Rhymes goes on to clarify her point. Every graduate sitting in that audience was lucky. She wanted to remind them to have perspective. Not everyone in the world has the opportunity to earn an Ivy League degree and live the life they lived for the past four years. Now is their time to pay it forward. She urges these recent graduates to find a cause they love and devote their time to it.

The last lesson she gives is that it’s okay to not have it all together. Many people ask her “How do you do it all?” and her answer is simple: she doesn’t. It’s a gentle reminder that no matter how successful you become, there will always be times when you don’t succeed. And that is okay. It keeps you humble and allows you to take a step back and look around. What are you doing that you could be doing better? There is something to learn with every curveball life throws at you.

Her final words are “be brave, be amazing, be worthy.”

Inspirational Commencement Speeches: Ellen DeGeneres

Inspirational Commencement Speeches: Ellen DeGeneres

A few weeks ago, I came across a list of the greatest graduation speeches of all time. They were inspiring and made me reflect. Last month, I wrote about Joyce DiDonato’s speech at Juilliard’s 2014 commencement ceremony. This month, I’m writing about Tulane’s 2009 commencement speech by Ellen DeGeneres.

When Ellen DeGeneres graduated high school, she didn’t attend college like many of her other classmates. Instead, she began working odd jobs such as shucking oysters, bartending, painting houses, and selling vacuum cleaners. She didn’t know what she wanted to do and didn’t have a clear plan.

When she was 19, a tragedy struck her life. She was living in a poor, basement apartment with barely any belongings to call her own. Her mattress laid on the floor and the place was flea-infested. One day she was driving down the road, she passed a horrific car accident. Later that night she found out it was her partner that was in the crash and she had passed away.

She didn’t understand why this was happening to her, so she began to do some soul-searching. She thought, wouldn’t it be nice if she could just pick up the phone and ask God why? Instead, she decided to start writing. She wrote what her phone call with God would be like if she was able to give him a ring. Little did she know, this is what would become her big break. A few years later, she was on the Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show performing this one-sided phone call.

After a few years in the industry, she came out to the public, not for any political reasons but to free herself from the heaviness of living in shame and hiding her secret in fear of displeasing others. Through this, she experienced another incredibly difficult hardship. She lost her career, became isolated from friends and family, and wasn’t able to secure any job offers. During this challenging time, she was receiving letters from people, kids, who were ready to commit suicide because of who they loved, and it was Ellen’s bravery that had stopped them. One of the hardest times in her life showed her that she had a purpose on this earth.

In hindsight, Ellen wouldn’t change a thing that happened to her. She had to lose everything to make her realize what was truly the most important thing in life: being true to yourself. She no longer lives in fear and doesn’t carry any burdens of hiding secrets.

When she was young, she thought success meant becoming rich and famous, but she realized that the image of success changes as your grow. She sees success now as living your life with integrity, being an honest and compassionate human being, and finding a way to contribute to the world around you.