September 28, 2004

Law school induction ceremony set for Oct. 1

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Illinois Supreme Court Justice Philip J. Rarick will again preside over the induction ceremony for first-year students in the Southern Illinois University Carbondale law school program.

The ceremony on Friday, Oct. 1, at the Carbondale Civic Center starts with a reception at 5 p.m. The ceremony starts at 6 p.m. The event is free, and the public is welcome to attend.

In addition, law school officials will present the Founder's Medal, the school's highest honor, posthumously to former SIUC political science professor Max W. Turner, who helped spearhead the drive in the late 1960s to establish the law school.

The induction ceremony starts Homecoming weekend festivities for the law school, which include reunions for the graduating classes from 1979, '84, '89, '94 and '99.

This is the third annual induction ceremony. There are 127 first-year students.

First-year students will recite a "Statement of Professional Commitment," an oath that they drafted themselves.
" I think it impresses upon them the seriousness of the study of law and helps them to remember that they are members of the profession, even as law students," said Dean Peter C. Alexander.

The induction ceremony and professionalism pledge are part of a professional development program already in place at the law school.

The Illinois Supreme Court now has each of the nine law schools in the state participate in a similar ceremony, using an oath drafted by the court based largely on the SIUC law school Class of 2005 oath, said associate professor Alice M. Noble-Allgire.

Prior to the ceremony, students participate in a series of workshops related to legal ethics and other professionalism issues. The workshops included discussions where attorneys and judges discuss with students what it means to be in the profession, expectations and common ethical considerations.

The professionalism pledge drafted by the Class of 2007 reflects the students' enthusiasm, seriousness and thoughtfulness, Noble-Allgire said.

"This is an important milestone in our student's legal careers," she said. "Drafting their own oath demonstrates that they understand what it means to be part of the legal profession and are willing to undertake their responsibilities as a member of the legal community. It's a special privilege for myself and other faculty members to watch the students go through the oath-drafting process."

Noble-Allgire said the public "would be proud to know how dedicated these students are to serving their clients and the community."

Achieving excellence in graduate and professional programs is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence ThroughCommitment, the blueprint for the development of the University by the time it celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019.