By Kevin Hogencamp/Jacksonville University
The Jacksonville University Pre-Law Society culminated its first year with a luncheon Tuesday, April 16 honoring the organization’s inaugural leaders, welcoming its new officers and getting loads of kudos from the University’s president.
On hand for the Kinne University Center event were JU President Tim Cost and six JU alumni who became attorneys long before the 4-month-old Pre-Law Society was formed.
Outgoing society President Illiana Tidd said being a part of the founding board has been meaningful for and her colleagues.
“We knew there was an opportunity to get involved in helping the students coming after us,” said Tidd, a senior who is studying political science and English.
The 33-member society is a program of the Jacksonville University Public Policy Institute (JU PPI), which is in its second year. Already, the society has established a constitution for the organization and created a handbook providing extensive details about law school options for graduating JU seniors. Also, it is starting the Phi Alpha Delta Pre-Law Society, which will initiate 23 charter members next week and will be open to all students interested in a career in law.
A 1981 JU graduate, Cost congratulated and thanked Tidd and her fellow Pre-Law Society officers and said that as the University’s new president, he can relate to what the society and the JU PPI, headed by Founding Director Rick Mullaney, are experiencing as start-up ventures.
“There’s an excitement with starting something knew,” he said. “Rick has a vision for the Pre-Law Society and the Public Policy Institute that are very close to the ideas that I have for the University.”
The JU alumni-turned-attorneys on hand for the luncheon were: Paul I. Perez, executive vice president and chief compliance officer, Fidelity National Financial, JU – 1976, University of Florida – 1978, Georgetown University Law Center – 1984; Karen K. Cole, Circuit Court judge, Fourth Judicial Circuit of Florida, JU – 1978, University of Florida College of Law – 1981; Elizabeth A. Senterfitt, Circuit Court judge, Fourth Judicial Circuit of Florida, JU – 1985; Michael R. Freed, managing partner, Brennan, Manna & Diamond, JU – 1990, Georgetown University Law Center – 1993; Gary P. Flower, County Court judge, Fourth Judicial Circuit of Florida, JU – 1982, Stetson University College of Law – 1986; Florida State University College of Law – 1989; and Ari Jolly, assistant general counsel, Blue Cross and Blue Shield, JU – 1983, Florida State University College of Law – 1990.
In addition to Tidd, the 2012-13 Pre-Law Society officers, all seniors, were (along with their majors): Vice President Robert DiMarco, political science and English; Secretary Nikki Pontello, political science and history; and Treasurer Alexander Bulgin, political science.
The 2013-14 officers are: President Nicholas Halloran, freshman, sport management; Vice President Joseph Merritt, freshman, political science, economics and history; Secretary Matebe Chisiza, junior, political science and English; and Treasurer Destiny Jude, junior, sociology and business.
Among the students in the Pre-Law Society who have been accepted to law school and have decided which law school to attend this fall are the following:
- Nicole Saunders – University of Florida College of Law
- Bryan Jones – University of Florida College of Law
- Lindsey Craft – accepted to the University of Florida College of Law and considering Duke and Vanderbilt law schools