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Highest Ranking Student Chris Rusek Delivers Commencement Remarks

Feb. 8, 2011

Chris Rusek is the highest ranking student in Baylor Law School's February 2011 graduating class. A Waco native, Rusek graduated from Midway High School and the University of Texas, where he earned a bachelor of arts in psychology. Designated summa cum laude at Baylor Law, he will begin working for Munsch, Hardt, Kopf and Harr, P.C., after taking the Texas Bar Exam later this month. Below is a transcript of the remarks he delivered at commencement.

I want to start by thanking everyone for coming here today to support our graduating class. I wouldn't be here without the love and support of my family and friends, and I know that is true for all of my fellow graduates. We should be grateful to those that helped us get here, and I'd like to thank some of the most important people in my life.

Specifically, I want to thank my wonderful wife Abbie- she is always there for me and willing to listen...even to stories only law school students care about. I also want to thank my loving mom, for having open arms, an open home...and a well stocked open refrigerator. Finally, I want to thank my dad, who always has an encouraging word for me. When I told him that law school seemed to be a dark tunnel with no end in sight- he said "Yea, but its narrow".

While I was putting off doing Barbri lectures this week I spent some time trying to decide which "law school story" best summed up my Baylor Law experience. There were lots of candidates:

late nights at the law school putting together appellate briefs; chasing "perps" in Cameron Park; long evenings spent "discussing the law" at George's; wearing, as Professor Powell called them, surfer dude sunglasses, in the PC picture; and my personal favorite, the story of how I got my nickname... as I stormed out of a class I was never enrolled in... while talking trash with the adjunct professor... who, unknown to much of the class, happened to be my father.

While I was reminiscing I realized a few things. First, most of my favorite stories are inappropriate for a commencement speech. Second, and more to the point, no one story can sum up the Baylor law experience. There are too many conflicting themes. We have made lifelong friends, and had lots of good times. But, as my fellow graduates know all to well, Baylor Law is not easy. The reading load is heavy and the quarter system is grueling. There is nothing quite like taking the last exam of a quarter on a Saturday, and then starting class again the following Monday morning. Perhaps worst of all, in our last year we have to hear friends at other law schools talk about playing golf and going out - while we were meeting Monday through Friday, at 7:45am, for an 8am class- because if your not early, you're late.

Our time here has been stressful. We have been tired, and pushed to our limits, but this is exactly why we should be confident going forward. We are leaving Baylor Law emotionally and psychologically resilient, with a keen understanding of the importance of preparation, and an unequalled work ethic. These characteristics will serve us well in the practice of law, and in life. You can rest assured that no Baylor Lawyer will ever be caught with their bare ipse dixit hanging in the wind. We should be proud of what we have achieved here, and what we will achieve going forward. I'm proud to be here today, with you, my fellow Baylor Law Graduates.

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