Dean Symeonides to Class of 2013: "Today you begin the process of joining this honorable and noble profession"
Dean Symeon Symeonides welcomed the 161 members of the Class of 2013 Wednesday morning, telling them that "today you begin the process of joining this honorable and noble profession" and urging them to be kind to their classmates.
"There is only one way to success and it can be summed up in three words: Work, work, work," he said. "Law school is tough as it is. Don't make it tougher by being unkind to your classmates. We want all of you to feel free to make mistakes."
He told the students that law remains the best defense against tyranny and anarchy and that being a member of the profession "empowers you to serve your fellow citizens."
Willamette University President M. Lee Pelton talked about the diversity of this year's class: Almost 90 colleges are represented, including two from Canada and one from Japan. The first-year law students collectively speak 14 languages and have traveled four dozen countries, he said.
"The dean, the faculty and indeed the nation have high expectations of you," Pelton said. "To practice law is a great privilege, and when you leave this institution, use that privilege wisely and with a steady hand."
The average age of this year's class is 26. Women make up 44 percent of the class and students of color represent 19 percent.