March 31, 2022, Heather Barodi
Every spring, the LEAP Center works with Lt. Col. David Yebra to bring in Judge Alberto Gonzales to speak with students, and every year the event is informative, entertaining, and rewarding.
Judge Gonzales obtained his undergraduate from Rice University and his J.D. from Harvard Law. He became the first Hispanic partner at Vinson & Elkins, Texas Secretary of State, TX Supreme Court Justice, White House Counsel, and Attorney General of the United States. He is now Dean of Belmont University’s Law School.
One of the things we learned, which might seem small, is that typically you refer to a person by his highest office. In Gonzales’s case, that would be “General Gonzales,” but since Gonzales was in the military as a Private, and because he doesn’t want anyone confusing him as a military General, he prefers “Judge Gonzales.”
Out of all the advice about life and law school he provided us with, the most impactful one was on how to approach difficult situations or problems. He told us that “if you ever go to someone with a problem, you should always have a solution.” Even if the solution is not the strongest, it is a starting point which can serve as a starting point for improvement. This advice is vastly applicable, whether it is a situation with our families, jobs, or even life changing decisions.
Of course we also enjoyed hearing about his time as White House Counsel, Attorney General, and Dean of Belmont Law. But it was his advice that likely stuck with us the most: “you should be happy when you are pursuing your career and navigating through life because you cannot be as helpful if you are not happy.”
We are very appreciative and fortunate to have been given this opportunity to meet Judge Gonzales and we hope to have him visit Sam Houston State again in the near future!