An ARC to Success

Law school marks 25th anniversary of transformative program

Written by Katherine Hedland Hansen
Photography by Marcus Donner
February 23, 2012
Graduates came from as far as Texas and Hawaii to pay tribute to Seattle University School of Law’s life-changing Academic Resource Center on its 25th anniversary.

The anniversary celebration recognized the law school’s uninterrupted commitment to access and diversity in the legal profession through the ARC Access Admissions Program and its early-entry predecessor and honored the more than 700 alumni who have enhanced the profession with their service.

This program, one of the few remaining true access programs in the country, is literally changing the face of the legal profession.

“It seems like every time I meet someone who is really doing something in the community, judges and leaders in the legal profession, they are invariably graduates of the ARC program,” says Dean Mark Niles.

President Stephen Sundborg, S.J., spoke at a reception about how proud he was of the law school’s and university’s commitment to provide access to legal education to people from underrepresented groups. An anonymous donor who also believes in that mission has created an endowment of more than $8 million for ARC scholarships.

The Access Admission Program considers an applicant’s life experience and promise in addition to traditional admission criteria, and ARC provides the support necessary for their success. Given access to legal education, ARC alumni enrich the law school and the profession. Although they comprise only 10 percent of the total student population, ARC students are disproportionately overrepresented as faculty scholars, Student Bar Association presidents and graduation speakers. Many go on to be leaders in the legal profession, bar associations and their communities. And they continue to serve the law school long after graduation.
ARC alumni are thriving in all forms of practice. They are state and federal court clerks, partners and associates, prosecutors and defense attorney, public interest lawyers, attorneys for nonprofit organizations, educator, corporate counsel and judges.

During the event, alumni of the program thanked ARC co-founders and Professors Paula Lustbader and Dave Boerner for their support, skills and encouragement.

King County District Court Judge Mark Chow is a 1979 graduate of the law school who was part of the Early-entry program. He’s grateful for the opportunity he and many other students from underrepresented groups have had, thanks to the law school.
“I was the only person of color to graduate with my class,” he says. “Look where we are now.”

Learn more about the School of Law ARC program.
law school ARC two Professors and co-founders of the ARC program Dave Boerner and Paula Lustbader at the anniversary event.