New law students were welcomed to campus in late August with characteristic Hamline warmth and a bit of high tech flair as new Dean Donald Lewis spoke to the class of 2011 from Beijing, China where he was attending the Olympic Games. "I apologize for having to greet you by videotape, but this trip was planned long ago, well before I was offered the privilege of becoming your dean," he said. As a way to involve the students in the Olympics, Dean Lewis challenged all 1Ls to predict the finishing time in the Women's 200 meter final. No one hit it "spot on" but Jeffrey Boucher (shown here with Dean Lewis) had the closest prediction on the time. His reward was a Beijing 2008 Olympics souvenir hat and pin from Dean Don Lewis who attended the Olympics in China.
Students appreciated the long-distance message, which was taped barely 24 hours earlier in front of Bird's Nest Stadium in Beijing. A photographer at KARE-11 taped the message from Dean Lewis and then sent it back to Minnesota via KARE's news satellite. KARE-11 also covered the event on its 5 p.m. newscast. (Dean Lewis' presentation from Beijing can be viewed at hopkins.hamline.edu/law/beijingwelcome.wmv).
Alumnus Timothy M. Kenney, a partner at Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P., and alumna Kristi Stanislawski, an attorney at Rajkowski Hansmeier, shared their memories and provided inspiration to the new students during orientation lunches for the weekday and weekend programs. Kenney recalled how the law school "enveloped him with love and support" when his mother passed away unexpectedly from a cerebral aneurysm during his second year at Hamline. Stanislowski told weekend students that she managed to juggle part-time law school instruction and study while working full-time as the communications director at the Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce and even found time to play on a weekly basketball team. "It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would be doing it. The hard is what makes it great," she said, quoting a line from a favorite movie that she explained applied equally well to going to law school on the weekends.
The class of 2011 includes 240 students and is evenly split between men and women, including the three 1Ls students shown right (from right: Theresa Scharrer, Laura Moore and Courtney Smaby). It includes 15 percent people of color and is Hamline's most geographically diverse class ever with students hailing from 25 states. The weekend program includes 49 new students, with 63 percent from Minnesota. Other weekend students are commuting from Iowa and Wisconsin, with the longest-commute award going to John Pierce who flies in from the state of Virginia each weekend for class.