4th Quarter, 2009
Law School Scholarship
I was born and raised in Sugar Land, Texas. I first became interested in government and law when I was appointed a page for the summer of 2001. I received a BA in International Affairs from George Washington University in 2006 and an MA in Comparative World History from George Mason University in 2008. While receiving those degrees I interned for the White House, the Department of Commerce and the Laura Ingraham Show. Last year I was proud to begin a J.D. program at the University of Minnesota.
A Portion Of Robert’s Winning Essay:
My decision to embark on an academic study of Law is not the terminus of a life spent expecting to enter into the legal profession. My parents never told me to be a lawyer or a doctor, but instead insisted only that I pursue a calling that was higher than myself and to embark on an academic journey only if I believed that my final destination would leave me better equipped to serve the ideas and values that burned in my heart. Eventually it became clear to me that law school would prepare me to become an eloquent and principled leader and advocate for the codes of honor that my parents have preserved and adhered to since they too were passed that torch.
My father was the son of an engineer from Illinois, who was transplanted to Aiken, South Carolina. My grandfather was a lover of sport and coached local teams of all ages for merely the pleasure of sharing his passion. He taught my father and my uncle everything he could about fair play and instilled in them an enduring concept of justice and honor.
When World War II broke out, my grandfather, in his thirties, was too old to serve and was refused by the army. He then used his engineering skills to contribute to the Manhattan Project, helping to end the war and break the grip of fascism in the Pacific. My father, when it came time to pick his own profession, decided to do what had never been done by a member of his family: he wanted to become a doctor. He paid for school by digging ditches and breaking apart solid pieces of glass with sledgehammers in fiberglass factories. He also received a scholarship from Duke University to play football, becoming a starting player in his sophomore year.
After graduation he was asked to play football professionally. He turned it down. He was not interested in fame. My dad wanted to save lives. He paid for Medical School by joining the Air Force, serving the country by keeping its soldiers healthy and treating wounds during the Vietnam War. The reason I tell this story is because since I was a child the virtues of loyalty, honor, fair play and the quest to serve have been ingrained in me as the highest and greatest of causes. I have been stopped at the grocery store by men and women who just want to tell me that my Dad saved their lives.
My Dad’s office was recently faced with a terrible choice: whether or not to continue to accept Medicare patients. The recent change in government policy on Medicare had decreased the reimbursement received by doctors for treating Medicare patients to below the cost of wear and tear on office equipment, meaning that private practices serving Medicare patients not only volunteer their time, but also are paying out of pocket for the equipment costs. My Dad’s partners wanted to refuse Medicare patients, but my Dad stood up to them and insisted that pay or not, they were called to help those in need. My Dad was not concerned about the cost to himself. He was not seeking accolades by challenging his partners in this quiet meeting. He was simply being who he is: a hero.
It is in this call to service, to earn honor above accolades, and above all else a conviction in fair play and justice that I have been raised to believe. In high school I spent many days volunteering at food banks and charities, earning the YES Award for exceptional community service. In college I fought for my passions and beliefs, volunteering as an intern at the White House comment line to make the government of the United States more responsive to the calls and letters of the American people. I have volunteered at numerous political events, fighting for my beliefs. Engaged often in the depths of state politics, I have denounced false rumors regarding the opposition, refusing to accept slander and cheating by even my allies. Victory without honor is no victory.
This is the attitude that I brought with me to the University of Minnesota and the passion I apply to the study and to the profession of Law. I have no patience of or tolerance for injustice, lies or dishonorable tactics. I do have heroes and they did not come from TV or movies. I have never promised to be an easy or passive student who accepts anything a professor declares. I do, however, strive to be vigorous in my studies, passionate in the defense of my beliefs and willing to listen to all evidence and arguments before making a decision. I look forward to the opportunity of carrying the torch to the through the remainder of my law school career and beyond.