Students celebrated for pro bono work and community service
Law students who exhibited their dedication to public service through pro bono and community service work were awarded with certificates of recognition at a ceremony in the Rare Book Room on Thursday. Students who volunteered 35 hours or more to the Pro Bono Project or Community Service Project were recognized.
“We wanted to throw this party for you to show how much we appreciate what you do, over and above your legal curriculum,” said Kristen Bryant, coordinator of the projects and assistant director for Career Development. “To dedicate volunteer time on top of that is incredible.”
This year’s graduating 3L students had a total of 2,763 hours of community service, compared with 1,038 from last year. They also accrued 9,204 hours of pro bono work, compared with 8,096 from last year. The combined volunteer hours for the class totaled 11,967.
“You blew last year’s graduating class out of the water,” said Bryant.
Christopher First was announced as student of the year for leading the class with the most pro bono hours by working with the 12th Circuit Public Defender’s Office. And Penny Taylor-Miller received student of the year honors for the most community service hours through her work with Fort White Elementary School and the Girl Scouts.
Dean Robert Jerry commended the students for their accomplishments and for demonstrating leadership qualities.
“One of the traditions at this law school is the preparation of our graduates for leadership positions,” said Jerry. “And by leadership we mean broadly giving back to the community, giving back to the state, the region and serving other people. And what these students have done is demonstrate that in their lives right now and are already projecting the professional values that the Gator Nation has celebrated for quite a long time.”
The certificates were divided into three categories: the first category was for students who dedicated 35-69 hours of volunteer time in either program, the certificate of excellence was awarded to students with 70-104 hours and the certificate of outstanding achievement was given to those who volunteered 105 hours or more.
There were approximately 100 certificates awarded this year, said Bryant.