Son of law school's founder welcomes incoming class


Photos courtesy of WMU-Cooley Law School

John Brennan, son of Western Michigan University Cooley Law School’s founder, Thomas E. Brennan, and Ingham County Chief Circuit Court Judge Richard Garcia welcomed the new class of law students at WMU-Cooley’s Lansing campus on Aug. 24.

The class is not only named for the law school’s founder, Thomas E. Brennan, but it is also the first class under WMU-Cooley’s new president, James McGrath.

During the orientation program, John Brennan spoke to the students about their class’s memorable namesake: Thomas E. Brennan.

“I’d like to tell you about Thomas E. Brennan as a human being – as my dad – because I think there are some things about him that might be useful to you as you begin this daunting and, certainly, very exciting new chapter in your life,” John Brennan said. He went on to note that his father was always a loyal friend, was generous, sought forgiveness, acted goofy — even writing and singing silly songs in public, and took risks.

“All of you are risking the next few years in hope of doing something great with your life,” said Brennan, WMU-Cooley Professor Emeritus who taught at the law school for 20 years. “He would tell you that you are worth it.
He would tell you to ignore your naysayers. He would certainly tell you to go out there and persevere. And he would tell you how incredibly grateful he is that you have given the women and men of this law school the opportunity to help you succeed. Unfortunately, he can’t tell you that today, but I’m honored to do that for him.

“To the Thomas E. Brennan class of Western Michigan University Cooley Law School, I welcome you and wish you all success,” John Brennan told the students.

Following John Brennan’s remarks, Judge Garcia administered the WMU-Cooley honor code oath. All entering students, faculty and staff take the oath, which states, “I promise not to lie, cheat, steal or plagiarize, and I promise not to tolerate people who lie cheat steal or plagiarize."