“We couldn’t let 11-11-11 go by without doing something special,” Dean Rudy Hasl said as he welcomed everyone to a Veteran’s Day celebration in the lobby of TJSL.
And it was special.
TJSL honored all of its veterans and active duty personnel for their service. Students, faculty, staff and alumni, were all called to the podium to stand tall as the audience cheered and applauded. TJSL Alumna Marquetta Brown ‘11 sang a moving version of the Star-Spangled Banner.
The emcee, U.S. Marine Corps veteran, Professor K.J. Greene, said, “The fact that there are so many veterans at TJSL is testimony to Rudy Hasl.”
Dean Hasl, himself a U.S. Army and Vietnam veteran, said the law school has built “an inclusive environment,” and that the military is part of the diversity that is the strength of TJSL. “People aren’t making sacrifices in their daily lives now as they did during World War II,” he added, “but today we recognize those who do make that sacrifice and commitment.”
“I am pleased and honored,” said Navy active-duty student Nicole Heffel 2L, who not only organized TJSL’s chapter of Service Veterans of American Jefferson Chapter, but also organized the ceremony. Heffel also applauded the law school’s Yellow-Ribbon scholarship program for the military.
In addition to Heffel, veterans or active- duty included Navy Reservists Eric Bernsen 3L and third-year student Jennifer McCullough ; Army Reservist Sara Stewart-Bussey 3L and Marine Corps veterans and active-duty personnel David Reyes 2L, Jared Drucker 2L, Ross Milligan 2L and Alonso Zavalasoto 1L, among other students who have served or are serving.
Staff members who were honored included Carrie Kazyaka (USMC), Randy Kryzston, US Navy, and Patrick Meyer and Dennis Sable, US Army. Former Marine Phil Shapiro '85 was also in attendance.
“There are 45 active duty personnel in TJSL’s fall entering class,” said Professor Greene. “We want the military that plan to go to law school to think of us first.”
The ceremony was a fitting way to honor TJSL’s growing military tradition, on this unique Veteran’s Day occasion of 11-11-11.