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Community Service Drives Rutgers-Camden Law School Graduate
CAMDEN — If there’s anything Wali Rushdan wants Camden youth to take with them as they progress though life, it’s that you have a responsibility to use your skills and talents to improve your community.
“When I understood that my experiences and knowledge were valuable, I decided that I would give back to my community with the things I had to offer,” says Rushdan, who will graduate from the Rutgers School of Law–Camden on May 17. “It’s gratifying to connect with those in need and to know you’ve helped make a positive difference in their lives.”
Throughout his three years as a Rutgers–Camden law student, Rushdan has dedicated himself to working with the community and to pro bono work through programs and organizations like the Black Law Students Association, the Marshall-Brennan Program, and the Federal Prisoner Re-entry Program.
Born in Chester, Pa. and raised in New Castle, Del., Rushdan describes growing up under modest circumstances. Although he was the first member of his immediate family to earn a college degree — he received his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Delaware — Rushdan says he was never content to do “just enough” to get by.
“A quality education was always very personal to me,” he says. “It was always more than just grades and lectures. It was about my opportunity to access my dreams.”
Rushdan looked at law school as an opportunity to show himself what was possible if he put his best effort forward.
“When I made the decision to come to law school, I decided that I was going to do it with everything I had to not only make it through, but to be a leader,” he says. “When Rutgers–Camden gave me an opportunity, it added fuel to my fire and inspired me to be an asset to this community. I wanted to add value to the campus.”
He dedicated himself to working hard for his university and his community, both of which he says left an indelible mark on him that helped shaped who he is today. But it’s also safe to say Rushdan left the same kind of mark on Camden.
Rushdan says community service opportunities helped him keep perspective throughout his law school career. One of his favorite things to do is mentor young people.
“For me, it’s important to connect with the kids in the community and share knowledge and experiences that will be helpful to them even if they don’t know it now,” he says. “I can relate to the people of this community in understanding that their challenges don’t define them. The challenges aren’t the end of anyone’s story, but rather help make accomplishing their goals that much sweeter.”
After graduation, Rushdan will work in commercial litigation for the law firm Fox Rothschild out of its Wilmington, Del. office.
In some ways, one can say his journey through law school has led him full circle. But he’s going to keep raising the bar.
“I’m not done yet. My sights are always set higher, not just for myself, but for my family and my community,” Rushdan says. “I have to define new goals and new things to push me. Rutgers–Camden is a special place. I’m very grateful to have had this opportunity. It’s helped prepare me for my career. I’ll be connected to it for the rest of my life.”
Media Contact: Ed Moorhouse