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[Pacific Lutheran Scene]

Leadership and Service

Living the Liberal Arts - Letters to the Alumni Office

CHRISTIAN LUCKY ’89 – CHRISTIAN LIVES IN NEW YORK CITY, WHERE HE IS A CORPORATE ATTORNEY WITH DAVIES, WARD, PHILLIPS & VINEBERG. CHRISTIAN GRADUATED FROM PLU WITH DEGREES IN ENGLISH, CLASSICS, PHILOSOPHY, AND GERMAN. CHRISTIAN WAS AWARDED A FULBRIGHT SCHOLARSHIP IN 1989 AND STUDIED AT KIRKELICHE HOCHSHULE IN BERLIN. HIS MASTER’S DEGREE IN HISTORY AND HIS LAW DEGREE ARE FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO. CHRISTIAN SPENT SEVERAL YEARS LIVING AND WORKING IN BUDAPEST, HUNGARY BEFORE MOVING TO NEW YORK.

Last week, I received a telephone call from a college student who was interested in attending law school and in becoming an attorney. I enjoy talking to young people and I receive many telephone inquires each year. Some are aiming for a corporate law job, others are former students or colleagues who want a recommendation letter and still others are looking for a lead on an apartment in the tight New York housing market.

But this caller was different. She said, “I am wondering whether anthropology and Spanish are good majors given my goals? Law school admissions counselors rarely favor one major over another, I explained. “No,” she responded “I’m not so much worried about the admissions counselors as I am in developing skills so that I can work to provide legal services in Latin America. I have studied abroad in Buenos Aires and in Equador and I’d like to go back to work as a public interest attorney”.

For a minute, I was dumbstruck. Had I heard the caller correctly? Then it hit me—of course this was a PLU student! She wasn’t looking for a job; she was building a vocation. We spoke at length about legal anthropology, about judicial reform in Venezuela, about micro-lending and about the many public interest organizations in New York that are always looking for talented law students and attorneys. My telephone companion was as well prepared as she could be to undertake the mission she had set for herself. I learned a good deal in talking with her.

Our telephone conversation reminded me that for students such as those who have been educated for lives of service at PLU, the job market is the broad universe of challenges facing humanity and is not simply the narrow listing of employers posting want-ads. For those who take this broader view, it’s a bull market with no shortage of jobs in sight. I was also reminded of the interplay between educating for service and the PLU commitment to liberal education. In order to be committed to service, individuals need to be intelligent and sensitive enough to understand and appreciate rewards that are not strictly monetary.

Well traveled, broadly read and bilingual, my PLU caller bears the attributes of a liberal educa-tion. She discovered her own professional aspirations within the aspirations of communities she came to know and care for while a student at PLU.

As I said good-bye and hung up the phone, I thought to myself, what about my community? The caller’s energy was contagious and had renewed me. I bet I could gather ten attorneys in my own neighborhood who could provide free legal aid to elderly shut ins. I think I will make a few telephone calls of my own.


EMILY KEYS ’00 – EMILY FROM TIGARD, OR., MAJORED IN SPANISH AND ANTHROPOLOGY AND PLANS TO ATTEND LAW SCHOOL IN THE FALL.

It is typical that during the winter months my thoughts often turn toward spring. This year I have not been so quick to leave winter behind, because for me this winter was a momentous one. This winter I graduated from PLU. What was once the place where I worked and studied is now my beloved alma mater. And, so it is with life—anticipated endings become undetermined beginnings.

My chosen disciplines of study were Spanish and anthropology—two majors that encouraged much reading and writing. During my first two years, it often felt laborious to squeeze heavy reading loads into my already full weeks. By the time I reached the last term of my university experience though, I wanted to read more, and I had more words to write than essay space available. A transformation had most certainly taken place. I can see that this transformation was largely fueled by the energy that abounded in the warm environment I had chosen to be my college community. Pacific Lutheran is without a doubt a unique place—one that tends to the hearts and spirits of its students as well as to their minds.

I would not be who I am today without that environment as a student.

Becoming a lawyer actually struck me as a good idea at the age of 5—I even wore a Harvard Law sweatshirt to kindergarten, if you can imagine that! At PLU, I learned why I should be a lawyer. PLU helped me to believe that one can live a life that is navigated by the compass of service. It helped me to believe that when guided by that compass we can carve out space for community and optimism wherever our physical road may be. In this way the bonds of community are elastic, and can stretch as far as individuals are willing to take them. For me, these beliefs created the realization that being a lawyer would allow me to put into practice the desire I had to work for justice and reconciliation in our world that is at times very divided and very angry.

Perfectionist-style doubts, those that often plague a good idea, quickly began to overwhelm my thoughts. Have my chosen majors adequately pre-pared me for the career and dreams that were forming in my head? Does a career such as the one I imagine actually exist in the “real” world? And if so, am I “good enough” to do it? When I was caught in this storm of doubt, the sunlight shown through in the form of fellow PLU graduate Christian Lucky.

Our discussion was empowering and inspiring. His intelligence, depth of knowledge and thoughtful responses to my questions were most impressive. My fellow Lute carefully listened to my interests and then engaged me in meaningful dialogue asking for my opinions and conclusions. Beyond the encouragement and support he provided for me, he contributed to the elasticity of the PLU community by allowing a current student to be his companion in conversation and ideas. We are now neighbors in this community even if miles and time zones distance us.

Now, the time for branching out has arrived. My commencement ceremony has come and gone. I have been charged with heading out into the world to begin navigating toward my dreams and desires with the compass of service. I am confident about branching out because I remain firmly rooted in the foundational principles of the PLU community. And now I too can be a part of our community’s elasticity.



Pacific Lutheran University Scene
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