Greetings from the LSU Law Center, where we’re busily working toward the conclusion of another successful fall semester as the holiday season kicks into full gear. Classes here actually end the day before Thanksgiving, and all of us will be ready to enjoy some time with family, friends and, yes, turkey!
In the rush to prepare for all the events and gatherings that come during the holiday season, it can be easy to find ourselves giving to-do lists greater attention than reflective thought about the spirit in which we gather during this special time of year.
With that in mind, I wanted to share a few of the things at LSU’s Paul M. Hebert Law that I’m particularly thankful for:
- We’re making great strides in expanding and enhancing our student support services. This summer, we hired our first in-house mental health professional, Catherine Seemann, to provide students with direct access to consulting and therapy services. We also recently promoted Jake Henry to Assistant Dean of Student Affairs, a new position that will administer our interactions with students, focusing on the academic, intellectual, psychological and personal aspects of student life at LSU Law. Jake will also work closely with other administrators, faculty and staff to ensure that students experience a supportive, inclusive and successful legal education. Jake has served as Director of Admissions for the past eight years.
- We continue to champion diversity and inclusion. The first-year class of students we welcomed this fall is among the most diverse we’ve ever enrolled at LSU Law, and I’m very proud of the commitment to diversity and inclusion that’s embraced by our faculty, students and staff.
- Our students continue to excel on the Louisiana State Bar Exam. They achieved the highest pass rate—84.4%—among all Louisiana law schools on the July 2019 exam. Among first-time takers of the exam, 85.6% of LSU Law students passed, which also ranks first among all law schools in the state.
- Our faculty is growing. We welcomed two new faculty members to the Law Center this fall: Clare Ryan, Assistant Professor of Law; and Pedro Gerson, Visiting Assistant Professor of Professional Practice. Six new faculty members have now joined LSU Law over the past two years, while the LSU Law Library staff has expanded with four additional librarians, all of whom hold a JD and a Master’s in Library Science. As we welcome new team members, we’re also bidding a fond farewell to three professors who have more than 120 years of combined service to LSU Law: Chancellor Emeritus John Costonis, who retired in June, and Bill Crawford and Paul Baier, who will both retire at the end of December. We are eternally grateful for their dedication to the Law Center and its students, and we wish them the very best in retirement.
- We enjoyed another wonderful Reunion Weekend and All-Alumni Tailgate. Hundreds of members of our LSU Law family joined together in celebration in late October, marking reunions for the classes of 1979, 1984, 1989, 1994, 1999 and 2009; celebrating the class of 2020 at the annual Hats ‘N Canes Toast; and cheering on the Tigers at the All-Alumni Tailgate prior to their thrilling win over Auburn.
While we are fortunate to have a national holiday dedicated to giving thanks for the blessings in our lives, I try to have an attitude of gratitude each and every day. So, long after the table is cleared on this Thanksgiving holiday and the leftovers are finally eaten, I will abide by the words of Henry David Thoreau: “I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual.” And my thanks to you are deep and heartfelt.
Have a safe and happy holiday season,