CHARLESTON, S.C., May 7, 2017 – Faculty members of the Charleston School of Law celebrated the special bond between students and professors during the school’s 11th commencement during which 110 students graduated.
“We are the only institution, undergraduate or graduate, in the country that has its faculty as their school’s commencement speakers, with the emphasis on the plural ‘speakers,’” Dean Andy Abrams said during the ceremony at McAlister Field House at The Citadel.
“In higher education today, the faculty and students are increasingly estranged, but at our law school, the relationship has always been and continues to be one of mutual respect, unwavering commitment and genuine affection,” Abrams said. “What better group, then, to inspire our graduates than the very people who have made this day possible through their tireless dedication and inspiration — the outstanding faculty of the Charleston School of Law.”
Professor Allyson Haynes Stuart, who has been with the school since it started in 2004, encouraged graduates to continue to give back to communities, as reflected in the school’s motto, pro bono populi (for the good of people).
“You are members of a class that has worked side by side with faculty, alumni and the community to keep this school’s culture, to keep our priorities, to keep our image as being a school that focuses on the community and giving back,” she said. “As you go forward in your practice, remember this journey because it is a remarkable one. Continue to fight for what you believe in. Continue to do things the right way, not the easy way. And continue to speak out.”
Professor William Janssen reminded students to enjoy life’s small moments, as well as its big ones. He cited examples of helping a penniless retiree on how to avoid foreclosure or losing his home’s water service or protecting a chef from being fired from a job when an employer wants to make room for a younger, less expensive cook.
“These may be small moments,” Janssen said. “They might not make the evening news or CNN’s splash page. But they are moments where the degree you receive today, and the person who received it, can make a genuine difference and can help change a life. Look for the big moments. But don’t neglect the little ones.”
Charleston School of Law President Ed Bell thanked graduates from helping the school reconnect with its traditions.
“During your three years at our school, we’ve transformed the school’s trajectory together and are moving forward at a crisp pace,” he said. “Thanks to your example, we continue to attract outstanding students
“When prospective students visit and talk with you, your peers and the faculty, they get a glimpse of the outstanding education experience they can have here,” Bell said. “And for that, we are thankful for everyone’s effort in making this school as the kind of school that inspires promising futures.”