Graduate and Professional School Student Appreciation Week profile: Chris Nelson

Graduate and Professional School Student Appreciation Week profile: Chris Nelson

The National Association of Graduate-Professional Students sponsors this week's celebration of graduate and professional student contributions to our campuses, government and communities. Throughout the week, Bulletin Today is publishing short profiles of St. Thomas graduate students, courtesy of Brian Dusbiber, director of the Student Affairs Life/Work Center on UST's Minneapolis campus. Here's the third profile.

By Brian Dusbiber, director, Student Affairs Life-Work Center

Chris Nelson, a third-year student in the School of Law is ready to make his mark in the legal profession. He was initially attracted to UST because of its strong mission-centered focus that emphasizes social justice and facilitates clear discernment of faith and reason in law.

Nelson says his legal education has provided him knowledge to make social change and to use the law's power morally. His faith and his relationships with students and faculty have flourished. The sense of community he feels in the School of Law and ready support from priests and faculty have been an important part of his success.

He cites his relationship with School of Law faculty member Robert Delahunty, who has been instrumental in his formation of his legal career, commitment to public service and his faith. Delahunty has invited Nelson to his home for meals and Bible study and, consequently, he has experienced a strong sense of support for his welfare. He adds that Thomas Holloran, School of Law Senior Distinguished Fellow and transnational business leader, is someone after whom he can model his life. Nelson says that through his experiences in law school he has found out more fully who he is, and what his values are.

To be successful as a law student, Nelson has found it important to set a schedule for himself, as he worked 20 hours a week during his first two years of law school. He has served as editor in chief of the UST Law Review and president of the St. Thomas More Society and participated in numerous volunteer activities. He has provided community service at the Park Avenue Foundation Walk-in Legal Clinic and the Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights. His experience as a summer intern for the Office of the Judge Advocate General at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point has added to his legal education at St. Thomas. He is engaged to be married in September.

Some of his social justice projects have brought him in contact with underserved, low-income clients. From this experience, he realized that he is interested in the welfare of immigrants and asylum seekers. He believes that using his legal education in the nonprofit world will bring its own rewards. He wants to take what he has learned out into the world and use the law to help "fix a broken world."