This summer, 60 students from 32 different colleges throughout the country convened in Tallahassee to “experience law” at Florida State University College of Law as part of the Summer for Undergraduates Program. The Summer Program, now in its 23rd year, is a unique initiative that gives undergraduate students, particularly those groups underrepresented in the legal profession, an inside look at the joys and rigors of law school and the legal profession. Through intensive writing and simulated law classes, mock trials, and personal interactions with legal practitioners, these students learn first-hand whether law school is a good fit for them.
1,100 Students to Date
The month-long program is supported in large part by FSU law alumnus, Wayne Hogan, and his wife, Pat. In 2000, the Hogans designated part of a $2 million gift to the law school to endow the program, and their 2003 gift of an additional $1 million allows the law school to permanently maintain the size of the program at approximately 60 students each year. Since its inception in 1992, more than 1,100 students have participated in the Summer Program, with roughly 46% now attending, or having graduated from, law school.
“Behind Capital Doors”
Continuing an annual tradition, the students also experienced law “Behind the Capitol Doors,” starting with a welcome by Wayne Hogan and fellow College of Law alum, Pamela Burch Fort. Next, they visited Florida’s Old Historic Capitol to hear from lawyers working in the Governor’s and other Cabinet offices about the practice of law in the executive branch of government. They also toured the Senate Chambers and watched the House of Representatives discuss the hotly contested Medicaid expansion bill, presented by Rep. Mia Jones (Jacksonville). Rep. Jones’ presentation briefly suspended so Summer Program students seated in the House gallery could receive a special introduction and acknowledgment from the House floor as Rep. Reggie Fullwood (Jacksonville) described the program to the House members and emphasized that the “Summer for Undergraduates Program is a signature program of the Florida State University College of Law” and benefits from “the school’s location in the Capital City by visiting and interacting with governmental entities.”
The oldest and largest of its kind, the Summer for Undergraduates Program provides free tuition, room and board, course materials, and a $500 travel stipend for each participant. It has served as a model for other law schools and was twice honored by the American Bar Association for the Program’s diversity efforts and impact.