They did whatever needed to be done the first year – moving boxes, recruiting faculty and students, setting up a library, and selecting furniture. They were building a law school and everyone chipped in.
They were here before any law students walked through the door in the School of Law’s temporary site in Terrence Murphy Hall and in 2003 when the “new” law building was built across the street. They’ve befriended students and seen more than 1,000 of them graduate. They’re a loyal bunch.
We asked the eight founding faculty and staff members who remain at the School of Law about their favorite memories over the past decade and of what they’re most proud. They summed up their thoughts in a word or phrase to describe those first years …
The early days were magic. It was amazing that 120 people actually showed up on the first day of classes. … The students from the early years have wonderful memories of going to school together in very cramped quarters. Frequently 120 students were packed into classrooms that were built for 70 people. … My favorite memories are the great conversations I had with Sister Sally Furay while riding on the shuttle from Minneapolis to the St. Paul campus. … I’ve enjoyed seeing the law school grow from the beginning into such a wonderful institution.
– Thomas Berg, the James L. Oberstar Professor of Law and Public Policy
‘Leap of Faith’
The founding group thought the ultimate test of whether we were successful would be if a substantial proportion of our alumni who were some years out of law school were trying to live out their faith and ethical principles in the practice of law. We think that a great many alumni are. … In the early days, Pat Schiltz (who was associate dean the first semester and acting dean the second semester) would patrol the halls saying, “I have a job looking for the person.” I remember spending a long time [hiding] in the restroom while at least one job found someone else. … I have felt blessed coming intothe law school every day for 10 years. I experience love of God and love of neighbor here each day.
– Neil Hamilton, director of the Holloran Center for Ethical Leadership in the Professions and professor
The students who joined our community before we were granted even provisional accreditation were certainly a combination of risk-takers, entrepreneurs and mission-driven individuals. These alums remain very close today. … I always think back to the beginning of the first recruitment cycle when we didn’t have an admissions website or publication, we didn’t have a law school building, had few staff and faculty, had no student ambassadors or classes to observe, and had no historical data or admissions letters – but somehow we ended the cycle with this amazing incoming class of students. … It is so easy for me to talk to prospective students about how special this place is.
– Cari Haaland, assistant dean for admissions and international studies
My most unexpected task was to physically help move all the books from Terrence Murphy Hall and from a warehouse into the new building. We had to put all the books on big wooden carts that were driven across the street (by a moving company). … My favorite memory was working in an offsite warehouse where we used to store a large part of the library collection while the new building was under construction. The place was pretty creepy; we had a mouse and rows and rows of book shelves that would have been a great setting for a horror movie. But I had a blast out there.
– Leslie Kiley, Schoenecker Law Library cataloging assistant
I’ve heard a couple things from alumni from the early years: institutionally, how proud and grateful they are to have been so intrinsically involved in establishing the law school’s unique mission-animated character; and that, while they often wondered why I so frequently demanded in class that they explain “why” they gave a particular answer to a question, they realize now that a good deal of an attorney’s service to clients and other folks entails explaining and showing the “why” of things. … I enjoy continuing the effort to teach, counsel and befriend students who, God willing, will be “a different kind of lawyer.”
– Father Reginald Whitt, professor
It was really exciting to be part of building a new and different law school grounded in faith and service. … My favorite memory was just the “togetherness” of the early days – we only had two classrooms and we were always bumping into students and colleagues in the hallway or in Food for Thought or in the basement library. … My most unexpected task was being involved in admissions work – something I had never done in my 10 years at Missouri – and discovered that I really liked being involved in recruiting our students.
– Jerry Organ, professor
The first law library was in a lovely, remodeled space on the lower level of Terrence Murphy Hall – space which had formerly been used for underground parking. Before the new law building, the library was the primary gathering spot and it felt like the heart of the school. I remember the first entering class and how closely they bonded over their studies and a shared passion for the mission. … I feel honored to be part of a law school that through its mission is going to make a difference in the world. It’s the mission that drew me to UST Law!
– Patricia “Paddy” Satzer, associate director of technical services
Both when we started and now, the same word applies: “blessed.” We’ve been blessed from the beginning by the people we’ve been able to attract – to support the school (as donors, mentors and adjuncts), to staff the school (faculty, staff and administrators) and to study at the school. Our students have been, from the very first class to the present day, an extraordinary group of committed risk-takers. … What I enjoy most is the law school’s entrepreneurial attitude – if you have an idea for something that you want to do, or that you think would make this a better school, you can almost alwaysmake it happen.
– Elizabeth Schiltz, professor, Thomas J. Abood Research Scholar, and co-director of the Terrence J. Murphy Institute for Catholic Thought, Law and Public Policy
Compiled by Patricia Petersen
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