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Class of 2013 Breaks New Ground, Literally

August 20, 2010

The law school welcomed the Class of 2013 during a week of orientation activities that began with inspiring words in the National Constitution Center on Independence Mall and ended with good deeds in West Philadelphia’s Cobb Creek Park.

On Aug. 16, 145 new students from 22 states and a variety of universities including Cornell University, Oberlin College, Swarthmore College and the University of Virginia, arrived at the National Constitution Center for the start of an intensive immersion in the law school community.

Welcoming the students, Dean Roger Dennis discussed the important work that awaits them as attorneys, from defending civil liberties to mediating tensions in our multicultural society to ensuring that businesses have flexibility to innovate without putting consumers at risk.

Dennis praised the diversity of the class, which includes a recently returned member of the U.S. Army Special Forces, a researcher who had studied rebel movements in South Africa and the organizer of the largest bone-marrow drive in history.

The week of activities concluded on Aug. 20, when more than 100 members of the law school community, including incoming 1Ls, current students, alumni, faculty and staff, provided cleanup and trail maintenance in Cobb’s Creek Park, located in one of the city’s struggling neighborhoods.

Swinging pickaxes, cutting trees, removing rocks and clearing trash, participants of the law school’s first Community Service Day made accessible a trail that begins at 63rd and Market streets and runs along the creek into the heart of the park.

"This is a great break from what we’ve been doing all week during orientation," said 1L Bobby Schema. "It’s important to remember there’s more outside than law school," he added.

Senior Associate Dean of Students Kevin Oates said the event, organized in cooperation with Fairmount Park and the non-profit Global Citizen, was equal parts service and community.

"Our new students got acquainted with the faculty and peers who have greater experience in law school while providing a valuable service to the community," Oates said. "This is very much in keeping with the school’s commitment to service."

Between the first and last days of orientation, the new students kept a busy pace, with the start of their Legal Methods classes, small group discussions led by returning students, sessions on effective study habits and legal ethics panels led by attorneys from an array of prominent firms, government agencies and public interest organizations.

The newly arrived students also met and began networking with some of Philadelphia’s leading practitioners during a Bench and Bar Reception in Philadelphia’s City Hall.