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Law School welcomes Class of 2016


Three AmeriCorps participants, an accountant, and an internationally ranked Scrabble player are among the future professionals who comprise the Penn State Law Class of 2016, which gathered for the first time at Orientation this week.

“We couldn’t be more pleased to welcome all of you,” said Amanda DiPolvere, assistant dean of admissions and financial aid. “All of you are part of Penn State now.” DiPolvere summarized the highlights of the Class of 2016, which includes

  • Students from 20 U.S. states as well as Brazil, Canada, China, the Czech Republic, France, Romania, and Tanzania
  • Speakers of German, Portuguese, Tajik, Russian, Farsi, Italian, Japanese, and Guajarati, among other languages
  • Nine Eagle Scouts
  • 22 people holding Penn State undergraduate degrees
  • A doctorate of musical arts, 34 political science majors, and people who majored in archaeology, biochemistry, and French

“I am ecstatic to be here. I am living the dream,” said Karen Durkish, a self-described “numbers person,” and certified public accountant. She already holds a Penn State degree in accounting and is most looking forward to tax law and business law classes. Durkish has wanted to be an attorney since she was a child.

Earlier this month, the Law School welcomed a class of  more than 75 new LL.M. students from every continent except Australia and Antarctica. It is with this prestigious group of international attorneys that J.D. students will share the Law School experience. 

Interim Dean James Houck, who was the Judge Advocate General of the U.S. Navy before joining the Law School, addressed new J.D. and LL.M. students and encouraged them to make the most of their law school experience. “Take advantage of everything you have here. Interact with people you’ve never met before. Study outside of the United States. Embrace everything here,” he said. He paused to introduce Keith Elkin, dean of students, and Karen Bysiewicz, dean of graduate and international programs, who play a key role in helping students fulfill their professional goals.

“Everybody here wants you to succeed. That is our single mission, for you to succeed and prosper when you come out of this place,” said Dean Houck.

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