In welcoming new students to Seattle University School of Law today, Dean Annette E. Clark '89 affirmed the university's commitment to diversity and condemned violent demonstrations by white nationalists in Charlottesville, Virginia last weekend.
"We stand with the vast majority of people in our country and the world who abhor racism, prejudice, hatred, and violence done in the service of those who seek to tear apart the very fabric of this nation," she said.
The 2017 IL Orientation this week features a theme of racial justice and discussions of Professor Lorraine Bannai's book, "Enduring Conviction: Fred Korematsu and His Quest for Justice."
Dean Clark encouraged students to see lawyering as both a profession and a privilege. "We believe that lawyers have a special and vital role to play in safeguarding our democracy, our Constitution, and the civil rights of those within our boundaries," she said.
The law school remains the most diverse in the Pacific Northwest, with 39 percent students of color in the incoming class of 206 students. The average age among the new first-year students is 27, and the group is 54 percent female, 46 percent male. More than 12 percent identify as LGBT.
The new students represent 19 states, 92 undergraduate schools, and a wide array of life experiences and interests. Prior to law school, students studied electrical engineering, biology, art/design, economics, civil engineering, music, and speech pathology, among other fields.
While some students come to law school directly from undergraduate studies, many have spent time in the workplace prior to undertaking their legal education. Our students include an award-winning photographer, a highly decorated Navy vet, several NCAA athletes, and political activists. Eight percent served in the military or are veterans.
"I want you to know that at Seattle University School of Law, our umbrella is wide," Dean Clark said. "It's wide enough to embrace all of you."