Highest Ranking Student Ryan Harper Delivers Remarks at Summer Commencement

August 4, 2011
David Ryan Harper was a magna cum laude graduate and the highest ranking member of the summer 2011 class. Originally from Plano, Texas, Harper earned a Bachelor of Business Administration, with an emphasis in management, as well as a chemistry minor, from Baylor University. While at Baylor Law School, his wife, Catherine, gave birth to their son, Rhodes. Following graduation, Harper will work as an associate for Simpson Boyd and Powers in Bridgeport. Following, is a transcript of the remarks he gave at commencement.

GOOOD Morning.

Mr. Searle, are you wearing a cap in here? You realize that is a violation of courtroom rules, don't you sir? Mr. Searle, what was the color of the plaintiff's daughter's shirt in International Shoe? Did you read the case? I can tell you read the case, but I don't think you understand the issue. Have a seat, well be in touch. Mr. Heilman, plan on doing any flips for us today? Give me a report on the last three cases of a lawyer doing a flip in the courtroom. What is this number six for you?

While I was trying to come up with what I might say today, I took the few ideas I had and went to Serr for suggestions. Four hours later, we didn't make it past the first half of the syllabus, I mean speech. I don't want to keep you here until after lunchtime. So I'll just get back to what I had.

People always have those moments where you act as if you were the batter in the World Series, three balls, two strikes, two outs, bases loaded, down by three, and you hit a grand slam. That was one of my dreams. I also thought about hitting the game winning shot in the NBA finals, a Super Bowl winning touchdown catch, or a putt to win a PGA major. Of all the dreams I had one thing never crossed my mind. I never once imagined that someday I would be standing here graduating from Baylor Law School and would have the honor of being associated with a group of such talented and distinguished individuals. As Professors Wren, Powell and Counselor have kindly shown us during PC, sometimes we find ourselves in situations where we never dreamed we'd be and sometimes we find strengths about ourselves we never realized we had.

After a long and wild ride, we are now Baylor Lawyers. Our certification is in our degree. "You may think of it as the ticket to the good life. Let me ask you to think of an alternative. Think of it as your ticket to change the world. " "To whom much is given much is expected." We have the responsibility to help others less fortunate. We are going to be presented with all kinds of opportunities to help others. Seize those opportunities. Keep your eyes open to the opportunities. "What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal."

There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure. Baylor has certainly prepared us to be the best lawyers we can be. But at the same time we must remember not to lose sight of the bigger picture. As several of our professors have told us, there is a delicate balance between life and work. It is important for us to keep in mind that while our work may inspire others and can change lives, we must make sure that we take the time to enjoy our family and friends because those are the people who inspire us.
We would not be standing here today as Baylor Lawyers without the support and encouragement of our family and friends. Family and friends, thank you!

Be proud of our profession and represent it well. I look forward to our continued friendship and successes throughout our careers. I am honored to call you colleagues.
Congratulations on your graduation. I wish you nothing but the best!

Before I leave the stage, I want to make sure everybody knows we have a double session today. I'll see you at 2:15.
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