Monday Morning Message 11.16.20 The Credit Belongs to Those Actually in the Arena.

Posted 2020-11-16 11:11am

My creed is that public service must be more than doing a job efficiently and honestly. It must be ….with full recognition that every human being is entitled to courtesy and consideration, that constructive criticism is not only to be expected but sought… that honor is to be earned but not bought.” -U.S. Senator Margaret Chase Smith 

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” – President Theodore Roosevelt

President John F. Kennedy used to joke that mothers want their son or daughter to grow up to be President but they don’t want them to be politicians. The truth, of course, is that you can’t be one without the other. The moment you run for public office, like it or not, you become a politician.

Politicians and government have endured suspicion and disdain since the dawn of human history. Yes, some abuse the office. Yes, some seek and hold it for self-aggrandizement.

But the vast majority of women and men I’ve had the privilege to know and work with closely for the past forty years pursue and hold it because they see it as a profound way to make a real difference in the world.

I believe that elected public service is not only an honorable profession, but potentially the single most effective way to make a deep and lasting impact on the lives of countless people, most of whom you will never meet.

For the American experiment in self-government to remain vital, we need more good people to run for and serve in public office. Despite the deep political and social divisions in our country, there is much to be hopeful about.

One example is that at least 115 women of color were nominees for the U.S. House in 2020, a new record. More Americans voted in the November 2020 election than in any other in the past 120 years.

It’s a proud tradition of our law school that so many of our graduates have sought and held elected public office. Virtually all of them have held public office with honor and many, such as Judge Mary Grossman ’1912, Judge Lillian Burke ’51, Congressman Louis Stokes’53 and Mayor Carl Stokes’56, broke racial and gender barriers with their election.

No law school has as many Ohio current and former elected public servants, both judicial and non-judicial, as CSU Cleveland-Marshall. More than 60% of Cuyahoga County judges, as well as many other judges and other elected public servants throughout Ohio, are our distinguished graduates. Our graduates include a former U.S. Senator, former Ohio Governor, former Ohio Attorney General, current and former members of the Ohio Supreme Court including a current and former Chief Justice, current and former members of the Ohio Courts of Appeals, current and former members of the U.S. Congress, a current and former Cleveland Mayor, current and former Cleveland City Council Presidents, and current and former Cuyahoga County Prosecutors, and the impressive list goes on and on.

We congratulate our below Northeast Ohio CSU Cleveland-Marshall graduates who were elected or re-elected on Tuesday, November 3, 2020 and thank them for their public service.

  • Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge ‘83, U.S. House of Representatives, 11th District
  • Hon. Michael C. O’Malley ‘92, Cuyahoga County Prosecuting Attorney
  • Hon. Jamie S. Callender, Jr. ’92, Ohio House of Representatives, 61st District
  • Hon. Jeffrey A. Crossman ’01, Ohio House of Representatives, 15th District
  • Hon. Diane V. Grendell ’84, Ohio House of Representatives, 76th District
  • Hon. Michael J. Skindell ’87, Ohio House of Representatives, 13th District
  • Hon. Scott M. Tuma ’97, Cuyahoga County Council, District 4
  • Judge Sean C. Gallagher ’89, Judge, Eighth District Court of Appeals for the State of Ohio
  • Judge Anita Laster Mays ’92, Judge, Eighth District Court of Appeals for the State of Ohio
  •  Judge Nancy A. Fuerst ’88, Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas
  • Judge Shannon M. Gallagher ’04, Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas
  • Judge Nancy R. McDonnell ’85, Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas
  • Judge Anthony J. Russo ’77, Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, Probate Division
  • Judge Michael J. Russo ’85, Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas
  • Judge Nancy Margaret Russo ’92, Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas
  • Judge-Elect Andrew J. Santoli ’06, Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas
  • Judge Brendan J. Sheehan ’93, Presiding Judge, Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas
  • Judge Matthew J. Lynch ’80, Eleventh District Court of Appeals for the State of Ohio
  • Judge Mark J. Bartolotta ’92, Lake County Court of Common Pleas, Probate Division
  • Judge Colleen A. Falkowski ’78, Lake County Court of Common Pleas
  • Judge Karen D. Lawson ’82, Lake County Court of Common Pleas, Juvenile Division
  • Judge John P. O’Donnell ’87, Lake County Court of Common Pleas
  • Hon. James R. Flaiz, Jr. ’02, Geauga County Prosecuting Attorney
  • Hon. Jack W. Bradley ’77, Member, Lorain City Charter Commission 

Since we have so many graduates not only in Ohio but throughout the nation who hold public office, I have no doubt that I inadvertently missed some other graduates who were elected on November 3. If I did, I apologize- please contact me, and I will include them in next week’s Monday Morning Message.

Congratulations and thanks to all our graduates who are current and former leaders in public service. You epitomize our mission, Learn Law. Live Justice.

Monday Moment Stay safe. Stay healthy. Stay Committed to Living Justice.

Have a great day. Have a great week.

For copies of past messages, please go to this link: Monday Morning Messages

Subscribe to Dean's Monday Morning Message

Subscribe to C|M|Law Newsletter

My views in all my Monday Morning Messages are my personal views alone and do not reflect the views of our law school or our university.

My best,


Lee Fisher
Dean, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law 
| Cleveland State University
Joseph C. Hostetler-BakerHostetler Chair in Law

  • Share