On August 11, the Santa Clara Law community gathered on a warm late summer evening in the beautiful Mission Gardens to welcome the outstanding and diverse incoming class and celebrate the start of the academic year.
“Congratulations on your admission to Santa Clara Law,” said Dean Michael Kaufman in his encouraging remarks to the more than 200 new 1L students. “Your admission means that you have experienced great success in your life in the classroom and beyond, and it means that you have a strength of character which calls you to overcome obstacles and to use your incredible talents and your legal education to serve your clients and your communities.”
Kaufman pointed to loving kindness as the key to success in law school. “Be kind. be kind to yourselves. Practice self-care. Ask for help,” he said. “And be kind to others—classmates, colleagues, faculty, staff, everyone. Kindness distinguishes good lawyers from great Santa Clara lawyers like you.”
The evening featured several special guests, including a hearty welcome from Santa Clara University’s new President, Dr. Julie Sullivan. Law alumnus, Michael Schulman J.D ‘76 offered inspiration and encouragement to those gathered as he shared the professional path that his Santa Clara Law degree facilitated, culminating in his current role as CEO of the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks. Judge Risë Pichon ‘73, J.D. ‘76, who was the first minority presiding judge in Santa Clara County from 1998-2019 and is now a Distinguished Jurist in Residence at Santa Clara Law, administered the solemn Oath of Professionalism to the students. Father Robert Scholla, S.J., lecturer in the SCU religious studies department, acknowledged the land on which our beautiful campus is built and blessed the evening in the school’s Jesuit, Catholic tradition. Bryan Hinkle, assistant dean for law admissions, and the two co-presidents of the student government, Nima Masjedi Zadeh and Vincent Pham, also shared words of welcome and encouragement with the new students.
This year also marked the beginning of a new annual tradition at Santa Clara Law: the Breaking Bread dinner, a meal shared by all at Convocation. The community sat at tables with umbrellas in the Mission Gardens and enjoyed a buffet meal together. In addition to sharing food, there were many rich conversations shared during the evening as new students chatted and laughed with the many faculty, staff, and alumni in attendance.
“For many centuries, wise and experienced members of the legal profession passed their wisdom to new members of the profession at the Inns of Court over a meal,” Kaufman told the gathering. “They would break bread together as a way of teaching, of mentoring, of forming professionalism, and shaping professional identity.”
“When we break bread, we share sustenance, fellowship, gratitude, stories, unique experiences, and different perspectives,” added Kaufman. “We break bread together as an act of gratitude, welcome, inclusion, cooperation, reconciliation, healing, and peace. We break the bread of blessing and belonging.”