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Welcoming Remarks from Sharon Sakamoto

Good afternoon
Dean Testy and Deans of the law school
Distinguished Guests and
New Students and Future Lawyers,

I greet you with a hearty and warm welcome as you begin your first year of study here at Seattle University Law School. I am honored and privileged to have attended this school of law. You will find among the thousands of law school alumni, many, many hard working, practicing attorneys; prominent, distinguished judges; eminent and successful politicians and accomplished, talented professors. I humbly stand here today representing that entire alumni community and the Law School Alumni Board. 

I recall that singular day in my memory, August 17, 1981, when I entered law school. I remember vividly all of my mixed emotions: excitement and fear, resolve and hesitation; wonder and awe. I had goals in mind that I knew would be tested, adjusted and further shaped in my years in law school. As much as I knew I held my future in my hands; I also knew that I had only ideas about what the future, at least the immediate future of law school, had in store for me.

Entering law school was for me like an adventure into an unknown world; similar to a trip to a foreign country where I decided to stay. The exposure to a new body of knowledge, new language, a new community, a new risk in relationships for me proved invaluable. Vigorous study, challenging assignments and demands in and out of school put me to the test. Yet, I grew to appreciate my law school experience. I am grateful for the skills, legal and professional, I learned and honed in law school and that I continue to develop and practice today. And, I continue to grow in my appreciation of Seattle University Law School as a respected leader in our legal community today.

Even more, I understand and deeply value the law school's mission of teaching law to promote shaping and building a just and humane world. Our law school's clarity of purpose: to achieve academic excellence and its mission: to reach for social justice make me proud and inspire me to want to continue my relationship not only with the school but with the school community – students, faculty and alumni. 

The law school provides opportunities to its students and continues to engage its alumni. The law school often serves as a hub bringing all facets of our law community together – offering classes, activities and gatherings, networking opportunities and a wealth of resources. I want you to know that the alumni of the law school want to "be there for you" as you join the Seattle University Law School community. We want you to count on us as resources for you from now on.

Today, I am excited for you and with you. In the name of and with very best wishes from the Alumni Board and all of our law school alumni, I want to say "Hi," "We're glad you're here," and, "If there's something we might do to encourage you and help you through your law school experience, please let us know." In the alumni body, you will find broad and eager support. Contact the Alumni Office, engage us, call on us as you would colleagues and mentors.  In a short few years, when you move forward as alumni yourself, please join us. I challenge you now to remember at that time to reach back to the next generation of Seattle University lawyers.

When you are alumni, you will want to actively give back to your "home school" community. You will want to get to know new students and new graduates. You will want to contribute to the success of the law school and its lawyers and your friends in the profession. The alumni community will warmly greet you then as we do today.

Welcome and best wishes to you – new students, future lawyers and future alumni.

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