As we begin 2014 together, I hope you all have had a happy holiday season.
Before closing the door on 2013, our first year of working together, I want to share with you what it meant to me when I recently—in the past month—witnessed women on two separate occasions who were driven to tears by their experiences with our law school. One was a grandmother who traveled from Southern California to see her grandson be sworn in to the California bar at our ceremony at St. Ignatius Church. He is the first lawyer in the family and the path over generations was not easy. The other was a small businesswoman who contacted one of our clinics for help to fight off a large company whose legal actions threatened to shut down her dream before it got off the ground. We provided both the legal expertise and the personal understanding that enabled her to persevere and prevail.
Both women were grateful for what the law school meant to themselves, their families, and their futures. Seeing and hearing them epitomized for me what we are all about at the USF School of Law. We have responsibilities to train the next generation of lawyers, to advance legal principles at the forefront of a more just society, and to ensure that constitutional and other protections are available to the many, not the few. Our terrain starts in Hayes Valley to Silicon Valley to the San Joaquin Valley, crosses oceans and enters cyberspace.
I look forward to the year ahead, as my colleagues and I work diligently with our eyes on the larger purposes that brought us to USF in the first place. I wish you and yours a wonderful 2014.