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The U.S. has had many early observances of giving thanks, but it was not permanently made a national holiday until President Abraham Lincoln’s proclamation in 1863. Even though the nation was in the midst of the Civil War, President Lincoln observed that there were still many things for which to be thankful.
Since the original proclamation by President Lincoln and an act of Congress cementing the official date to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday starting in 1942, Thanksgiving has been a time for families and friends to get together to enjoy themselves with a great meal, the start of the Holiday shopping season, and game watching on TV. While enjoying the Thanksgiving holiday, like many of you, I will reflect on its underpinnings and pause to give thanks.
At the Law Center, we also have many blessings that are important to acknowledge and for which we are very thankful. We are thankful for the Law Center’s powerhouse faculty, who have top-notch academic credentials and whose scholarship transforms the debate and discussion of globally and nationally significant issues.
We are thankful for the Law Center’s engaged and well-credentialed student body. The first year students have a median UGPA of 3.54, which is the highest median UGPA since 2007. They also are very diverse with more than 35 percent members of racial/ethnic minorities with the largest percentage of Hispanic students in the Law Center’s history.
We are thankful for the Law Center’s innovative clinics and academic centers and institutes which work (with our students) to transform the world through their research and advocacy and help serve some of the most underserved members of the Houston community.
We are thankful for the Law Center’s hard working and dedicated staff that ensures the Law Center runs smoothly and professionally to provide opportunities for our students and support for our faculty.
We are thankful for the Law Center’s alumni who are world leaders in the legal community and society who through their legal practice represent clients and advocate for socially and economically important issues. Our alumni also give back to the Law Center with their financial contributions, time spent mentoring students, and commitment to hiring our students; this paves the way for the future generation of Law Center graduates. I am personally very thankful and very blessed to serve as your dean for the past sixteen months.
For all these blessings, we should make sure that we give thanks.
All the best, Len
Leonard M. Baynes
Dean & Professor of Law
University of Houston Law Center
The University of Houston Law Center
100 Law Center
Houston, TX 77204-6060