Founded in 1867, the University of South Carolina School of Law is one of the nation’s oldest law schools.”
This was the first sentence emblazoned on many materials the law school published back when I was a student from 1978-1981, and it was still in use when I became a professor in 1986. As dean, I vowed to change that, to banish these words from being our introduction to the public. Yes, it showed that we had a rich heritage, and certainly there is something to be said for such a solid legacy. But it didn’t reflect our school today.
It didn’t convey the innovation that has been a hallmark of our academic programs; or the excellence of our faculty whose scholarship and teaching is breaking new ground and exploring solutions to some of our most complex problems; or the power of our alumni and students to effect change both in our state and on the other side of the world. In short, it didn’t fully tell our story.
In this issue, we wanted to tell more of that story, not only by reflecting on our past, but also celebrating our future.
And what a future it is. As you know, we turned 150 this year, and we began the next 150 by moving into our magnificent new home. We were honored to have Justice Samuel A. Alito of the United States Supreme Court deliver the address during the dedication ceremony, and delighted to have more than 500 attend our 150th celebration that same evening.
As we put together our sesquicentennial story, it was certainly amazing to see how far we’ve come, and even more so to realize how often this law school has been a national leader in legal education.
That tradition continues today with an emphasis on experiential learning for our students, including new domestic violence and medicolegal partnership clinics. We’re proud to expand our clinical offerings, especially in two such vital areas of importance—areas that exemplify our mission of serving the needs of this state, and improving the lives of its citizens.
Our focus on service is truly a part of the culture of today’s law school. More importantly, however, it stays with our students even after they have graduated. We highlight in this issue stories of students and alumni who have traveled abroad to improve the lives of others, from helping refugees in Australia to assisting with indigenous land right issues in Cambodia.
And finally, you’ll meet our newest faculty members, including Clint Wallace, who has ties to this school that go back over a century. We were fortunate to interview him with his grandmother, Sarah McCrory ’44, before she passed away in October
This year, more than any other, I have been reminded how special our school is. And I know that we wouldn’t be where we are today without you, our alumni. Thank you. We’re glad you are part of our story.