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Released on Jun 3, 2024
Monday Morning Message 6.3.24 The Power of Shared Experience

“As the first Arab American to receive this recognition, this award is especially important not only me—but to my family and community as well.  They have always been by my side throughout my journey. …..When I was growing up, education was not a given for women in my culture.  Fighting for the opportunity to get my undergraduate degree and then pursue law school was another fence I had to climb. ….

As a first-generation law student, law school was challenging. I suffered from imposter syndrome—like many women do. I found support in my many law professors and administrators. Dean Steven Steinglass, Justice Melody Stewart, Professors Fred White, Tayabb Mahomoud, and Susan Becker to name a few.  Besides the CAVS winning the Championship – graduating from law school was the happiest day of my life!  - Awatef Assad ‘95, 2024 Alumni of the Year

“Fifty (50) years ago, this July 14th, I was on top of the world, enjoying my work and life. But then, on that date, I had a bit of a life setback. Due to circumstances beyond my control, a certain event changed everything. I was pronounced dead.  Coming out of a coma about 1 ½ months later, hospitalized for over four (4) months, multiple surgeries, and extensive physical therapy, I was finally able to return to the business side of diving, but recognized it was time for a change……

In the Spring 1977, I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Professor Gale Messerman who encouraged me to pursue a legal education….As fate would have it, Gale, a distinguished professor, and lawyer, was my Civil Procedure professor who, thereafter, also continued to mentor me through law school…… another of my favorite professors, Professor Alan Myles Ruben ….guided and mentored me through my  2L and 3L years….It is with my personal gratitude to CSU College of Law, to all who have preceded me, and to those who have followed, that I have been privileged to Learn Law and Live Justice.”  - Kemper Arnold ’80, 2024 Alumni of the Year

Over these past several weeks, I’ve witnessed the power of shared experience. At each event, there was a warmth and feeling of comradery that can only be found when all the people in the  room have a common bond – a shared experience that was transformative in their lives.

I recently described our inspiring CSU Law 2024 Commencement honoring our 2024 graduates. Two days later, our Board of Visitors, chaired by Sarah Flannery ’02 and vice-chaired by Sonia Winner ’90, met for several hours to discuss the various challenges and opportunities facing our law school. Five  students – Ivan Conard ’26, Jackie Godic ’24, Anushkay Raza’ 24, Lila Robinson ’26, and Liz Tsai (JD online 1L student), spoke movingly about their law school experience.

Following the Board of Visitors Meeting, our CSU|LAW Alumni Association (CSULAA) hosted its Annual Recognition Luncheon, the largest law school alumni event in Ohio, and one of the largest in the country. Over 800 alumni and community supporters attended the luncheon. Net proceeds benefit scholarship funds for CSU|LAW students. Vince Lombardo ’81 masterfully chaired the luncheon, working closely with Alicia Perozeni, CSULAA Program Director. Ashley Nemeh '22 sang a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem and CSU President Laura Bloomberg gave welcome remarks. Also on the dais were CSU Provost Nigamanth Sridhar and Aurora Santiago-Flores ’24, CSULAA Scholarship recipient. 

The CSULAA honored two outstanding Alumni of the Year Awatef Assad '95  (see Awatef Assad Video PW:CSU2024) and Kemper Arnold '80 (see Kemper Arnold Video PW: CSU2024)

CSULAA 2023-24 President Katie Kirby ’10 presented the President’s Award to John Calabrese ‘12. Iwas very pleased to present the Dean Wilson G. Stapleton Award for Faculty Excellence to Professor Karin Mika.

I am often asked why our alumni have such a strong connection to our law school and to each other that is found at so few other law schools. The answer is that from the day a student is admitted to our law school, they are admitted to a place not only where we provide a quality, rigorous legal education but also where bonds of support and friendship are forged that last a lifetime. Hence, our motto, “We are your law school for life.”

There is no greater gift to a law school and no greater testament to the quality of its students, faculty, and staff, than a strong, loyal alumni network. I will  be forever grateful for our supportive and engaged alumni, led by our dedicated Alumni Association and Board of Visitors, who pay it forward every day.

Have a great day. Have a great week.

The views and opinions expressed in my Monday Morning Message are solely my own and do not reflect the views and opinions of the law school or the university.

My best,

Lee

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