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Released on Nov 14, 2023
Student Profile: William Olmstead, CSU Student Veteran of the Year

Cleveland State University College of Law 2L student, Captain William Olmstead, Ohio Army National Guard, who served for a decade as an Infantry Officer in the United States Army with multiple overseas deployments to the Middle East, was named CSU’s 2023 Student Veteran of the Year.

William was recognized at the CSU’s Veterans Day Appreciation Ceremony and the City of Cleveland Veterans Day Parade + Ceremony. He was nominated for the award by CSU|LAW Dean Lee Fisher Associate Dean Carolyn Broering-Jacobs, and Professor Doron Kalir, among others. 

“As an Infantry Officer, all my accomplishments in the military belong to the Non-Commissioned Officers and Enlisted men I was privileged to serve with,” said William. “They are the soldiers who make the truest and costliest sacrifices for this country. Receiving this award feels consequential because it does not belong to me alone; it is shared by all the soldiers I served alongside.”

William completed his 1L year in 2021–22 before volunteering to deploy to Iraq as a Rifle Company Commander in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. He returned to the United States from serving overseas in August and immediately resumed his 2L studies after missing the last academic year. He now anticipates graduating 2025 thanks the CSU|LAW administration for their support accommodating his deployment.

As William prepared for his deployment during his 1L year, he was also spending significant time in the woods; shooting, training, rucking, and getting soldiers and equipment ready for the Middle East. He feels incredibly fortunate for his classmates and an unflinching support system that helped him balance the workload during that time, including his fiancé, Bess Massad, a 2023 CSU|LAW graduate. William is scheduled to depart the Army permanently in February of 2024 as he continues his legal studies. 

William always wanted to be a soldier.  While he is not a “military brat,” his family has a proud history of military service that he was honored to continue. 

“I have been given incredible privilege in this country because of where I was born, the color of my skin, and the opportunities that were gifted to me undeservedly,” explained William.  “Military service has always been a mechanism for me to repay the debt that I believe I owe to this nation and its citizens, a way to ratify that privilege.”

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Law professors smiling with student receiving Veteran of the Year award

Being an attorney was something he always dreamed of,  as well. While He is getting a later start in law school than many students, he is glad he waited—his experience has given him perspective and focus on what kind of life and career he now wants to build, and how CSU|LAW can help him reach those goals. 

William has certainly taken advantage of the opportunity and the additional time he now has available to dedicate to his legal pursuits.  He is currently an associate on the Cleveland State Law Review and a member of the CSU|LAW Moot Court Team. He is also a Dean’s Leadership Fellow and a student in Professor Doron Kalir’s Appellate Practice Clinic. Next semester, William will be externing with Judge Calabrese in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, and in the summer, he will join Jones Day as a Summer Associate in the firm's Cleveland office.

William now seems himself seeking a career as a litigator, hopes to clerk in federal district or circuit court in the coming years to enhance that dream. Long term, he could see himself running for public office or sitting on a federal bench.

Watch CSU Veteran's Appreciation Day Highlights

 

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