A Welcome from Dean Jacob H. Rooksby

A man and a woman, both dressed professionally, share a cheerful moment at a table with papers.
Dean Jacob H. Rooksby of Gonzaga Law School

October 18, 2023
Gonzaga Law

Coming out of the global pandemic, people the world over have learned many things. The value of our agency and our freedoms. The importance of self-care and time with family. The fact that no moment or experience is guaranteed except the present. And perhaps more than anything, the stark realization – brought home most acutely when we could not leave our homes – that how we spend our days is how we spend our lives.

Here at Gonzaga Law School, we have a proud history of caring for the whole person, rooted in our Jesuit tradition of cura personalis, which has worn well through changing times and circumstances. Whole-person care means that our students are first and foremost treated as individual people, not customers, or numbers, or cups to be filled. At 1L Orientation, we tell students that we will walk with them on their journey in legal education, and we mean it. Our care extends beyond the classroom, and even beyond their time with us as students. As these pages describe, we support our students’ minds, bodies and spirits through a multitude of ways, including such offerings as animal therapy in our library around exam time; a food pantry in the Law School for those facing food insecurity; and weekly Mass open to students of all (or no) religious denominations.

Our community is grounded in fellowship. Learning law is not easy, but our supportive, accessible and congenial environment lowers the stress. Gone are the stereotypical days of cutthroat competition and win-at-all-costs attitudes. Our faculty and staff embody professional values that often shed light on personal values.

For us, law does not have to be a dehumanizing experience – to the contrary, law is a lens into understanding our shared humanity.

That is why underscoring the importance of health and wellness is not a fad for us at Gonzaga Law School, but rather part and parcel of who we are as a community of scholars, teachers and learners. How to live through law a centered, strong and purposeful life is at the heart of what we seek to model and inspire in our students. After all, care for the self – in mind, body and spirit – is a precondition to successfully and zealously caring for others as their advocates, counselors and defenders.

We are proud of our collective commitment to graduating students whose work changes the world. We are proud of how we help them put their passion into practice. We are even prouder of who they are as people and whatever small role we are fortunate to play in shaping them as men and women for others.

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