Southwestern and CSUN Celebrate New 3+3 Program
On November 18, members of the Southwestern and California State University, Northridge (CSUN) communities gathered at the law school to formally celebrate their new collaboration to offer a 3+3 B.A./J.D. program. In attendance were CSUN's president and provost as well as many faculty and administrators from both schools. Several Southwestern students and alumni who are CSUN graduates also came to show their support for the new program.
"We are honored to have such a terrific contingent from CSUN with us to mark the start of this exciting partnership," Dean Susan Prager said. "And the response to the new program from those who know Southwestern and CSUN best has been very gratifying." She thanked CSUN President Dianne Harrison and Provost Harold Hellenbrand for being there, noting that their support and presence "really reinforces the significance of this new collaboration to both of our institutions." She pointed out that the two schools' missions, values and historic connections to Los Angeles make this a natural alliance.
The accelerated 3+3 plan will allow qualified CSUN students to complete both degrees in six years, rather than the usual seven. Participating students' first year of law school at Southwestern will count as their fourth year of their undergraduate education at CSUN. They will also each receive a $10,000 scholarship from Southwestern, which is renewable, depending on academic performance in law school.
Dean Prager also recognized the efforts of Southwestern Professor Austen Parrish and Dean Stella Theodoulou of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences at CSUN for their critical roles in developing this new program.
Dr. Harrison also shared her enthusiasm for this new venture. "We are all so excited by this program," she said. "I am thrilled that so many of our academic leaders and representatives from CSUN are here, and I think it is a testament to the excitement over the new opportunities that this partnership represents for our students. The fact that we are entering a partnership [with an institution] that has such a history, such a tradition and such a glowing record of admitting and graduating our students, is really quite exciting. I am very respectful and in tremendous admiration of Southwestern's commitment to students, commitment to diversity, commitment to reaching out to us, and for making this happen."
Dr. Hellenbrand values the connection of combining a liberal arts and law degree program as well as the importance of an urban law school. He said, "We really appreciate the deep vision and imagination to pull this off."
Stephanie Peatman, a CSUN alumna and third-year day student at Southwestern, stepped up to the podium to say a few words. "I am so excited to see this partnership come to fruition," said Peatman, who was the law school's Student Bar Association president last year. "A huge part of who I am and what I have accomplished is due to the amazing people who have made CSUN and Southwestern great... and I can't wait to witness all of the great things to come from this expanded affiliation.”
She wasn't the only current student/CSUN alum to praise the new program. "I wish this program had been started a few years earlier," said Ivan Michultka-Calel, a second-year day student. "I think this is so wonderful for people like myself who always knew they wanted to go to law school. Southwestern has always been at the cutting-edge of legal education, so I think this is a great step."
Don Forgey '77, a partner at Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP and past president of Southwestern's Alumni Association Board of Directors, is also a CSUN graduate. "This collaboration is so fantastic," he said. "It's innovative, which is typical because that's what Southwestern is all about: innovation."
Southwestern Professor Julia Vazquez, who is the supervising attorney of the law school's Immigration Law Clinic, was very pleased when Professor Parrish first told her about the program. Her husband, Carlos Hernandez, is a professor in CSUN's Chicano Studies program. She said, "I told him to be on the lookout for students who are good writers and future political rabble-rousers!"
Professor Richard Horowitz, Chair of CSUN's history department, was very impressed with the campus and the new program. "At Northridge, we have incredibly mixed and diverse students," he said. "This program presents a great and transformative opportunity for those who know early on that they want to go to law school."
Read CSUN's coverage of the event here, and for more information about the 3+3 program, visit www.swlaw.edu/csun.