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Columbus Pre-Law Club visits St. Thomas University

By Alexander Santana

On January 21, 2016, the Columbus Pre-Law Club had the opportunity to visit St. Thomas University School of Law.

29 Columbus students were welcomed by Mrs. Jessica Fonseca-Nader, Assistant Dean for Enrollment & Assistant Professor of Legal Writing. Columbus students were then taken to the Moot Courtroom where Dean Fonseca-Nader spoke about why one should go to law school, how one gets into law school, programs at the School of Law, and St. Thomas University’s admissions process. Two current law school students, one being a Columbus alumnus from the Class of 2009, joined the presentation to introduce themselves and talk about their experiences in law school so far. After the presentation, Columbus students took a tour of the beautiful campus and visited the library, gym, workout room, chapel, and classrooms. At the end of the field trip, Columbus students were able to see a mock trial and some acted as members of the jury. Brother John Healy F.M.S., Moderator of the Pre-Law Club, and Dr. E. Carter Burrus Jr. attended the field trip as well.

St.Thomas University is a private, Roman Catholic, accredited law school located in Miami Gardens, Florida. St. Thomas was founded in 1961 as Biscayne College by the Order of St. Augustine. Through continued growth and development, Biscayne College earned university status in 1984 after the addition of 10 Master degree programs and the opening of the School of Law. St. Thomas came under the sponsorship of the Archdiocese of Miami in 1988, conferring upon St. Thomas the distinction of being the only Catholic Archdiocesan sponsored university in the State of Florida.

When the University status was attained in 1984, the name of the institution was changed to St. Thomas University to reflect its Cuban heritage. St. Thomas traces its roots to the Universidad de Santo Tomas de Villanueva, founded in 1946 in Havana, Cuba, by American Augustinians with assistance from European Augustinians. In 1961, Fidel Castro and his communist government expelled all Roman Catholic priests and religious from the island. He also took control of all Catholic schools, including 11 schools run by the Marist Brothers throughout the island. With the exodus of the Augustinians from Cuba in 1961, several came to Miami to reestablish what they had worked hard to create in Cuba, a quality center of Catholic higher education that develops leaders for life.

The Columbus Pre-Law Club looks forward to visiting St. Thomas next year and creating a lasting tradition with St. Thomas that will guide future Explorers into the practice of law.

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