Success Stories
Military family
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November 13, 2020 |
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Military Family Attends GGU Together

When Thomas Johnson enrolled in law school, he didn’t imagine that his parents would join him. But when his parents enrolled in the MS Leadership program, GGU turned out to be a win-win for the entire family.

By Jenny McKeel
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When John and Vicky Johnson retired from the Air Force Reserves in their 50s, the couple wanted to use the G.I. Bill to pursue an MS Leadership degree so that they could then give back to the military sector. At the time, their son, Thomas, was applying to law school programs. As it turned out, GGU was the best option for the entire family.

“Thomas wasn’t too keen on the arrangement at first,” joked Vicky.

It was when Thomas accepted a scholarship at GGU Law that Vicky and John grew interested in GGU’s MS Leadership program for its innovative curriculum and affordable price. They bought a house in Concord, where the whole family could live while enrolled at GGU.

MS in Leadership

During Vicky and John’s first year in the MS Leadership program, Vicky began serving as a Veteran Ambassador, helping other veterans make connections and discover opportunities.

“That’s when the rubber hit the road,” Vicky recalled. “Because I was visible in the Veterans Student Lounge, I got to know Thomas’ friends. It was awkward for Thomas at first. It’s kind of like going to law school with your kid.”

Thomas was grateful to have a place to live and help with meal prep and commuting into the city. Nonetheless, there were downsides.

“If your parents are at the same school,” explained Thomas, “it’s inevitable that they will bump into your classmates. You don’t know what your parents are going to say and what your classmates are going to say to your parents.”

Family Planning

Still, GGU made good financial sense for the Johnsons.

“But ideally I did not assume I would be living at my parents’ house at the age of 25,” quipped Thomas. “Usually when you go away to school, your parents are not in tow.”

For Vicky and John, going back to school together has allowed them to grow closer in retirement while learning new skills.

“We do homework together,” said Vicky. “And sometimes we are paired up as partners in classes. It’s helpful to be in the same classes because he knows what I’m talking about and vice-versa.”

They have had to negotiate personality differences: John is less talkative than Vicky, who likes to chat with people in the building before leaving for the day.

The Value of Higher Education

One thing Vicky and John agree on is the value of higher education in retirement.

“I’ve enjoyed every class we’ve taken,” commented John. “We’ve studied different organizational structures and it’s amazing that every one we’ve studied applies to my career.”

In their capstone class, every student—and even the professor—was a veteran, a unique opportunity for the Johnsons. When they graduate, John and Vicky plan to enroll in the MS Financial Planning program. Their ultimate goal is to use their new skills to help guide young people into careers in the military or aviation industry. John hopes they can offer free financial planning to military bases.

“When we retired, we owned multiple homes,” said John. “For me it was a travesty to see other vets retire and it was the first time they owned a home and they have to find another career to pay the mortgage. We’d like to help people avoid that.”

Commitment to Public Interest

For Thomas, GGU is a great fit because he always wanted to work in public interest law.

“They are my parents so some of the values have crept over,” he said, with a laugh. “Because I’m graduating with almost no debt, I will be able to focus on helping others without worrying about my paycheck.”

Whereas his parents want to serve others in the military, Thomas wants to help the public and also animals in need. Outside of classes, he’s active with the Student Animal Legal Defense Fund. Growing up with pets, he always felt a connection with animals. His family volunteered with pet rescue organizations that placed abandoned animals in homes or with organizations like the ASPCA.

“Animals need help,” said Thomas. “And they don’t get legal representation. There aren’t a lot of lawyers working in this area. If we can get students interested in helping out, there may be new solutions to be found for animal welfare.”

 

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Attention new GGU Summer Term students! 📢 Join us for Student Success Orientation on Wed. 5/4. You'll get all the information you need to ensure academic success and social engagement at GGU. We'll connect you to a host of resources to help you transition successfully into the university. Register today for the Zoom link. ow.ly/o1AP50IUVUs ... See MoreSee Less

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I am so grateful that we could attend. Thank you, GGU

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Timeline photosDear GGU Law Community:

It is with great sadness that I write to share news of the passing of Peter Keane, who died Sunday after a long illness. Peter Keane served as Dean of Golden Gate University School of Law from 1999-2003 and later, as a much beloved classroom teacher of Constitutional Law, Criminal Procedure, Evidence Law, and Professional Responsibility. Dean Keane always said that his greatest pleasure at GGU was getting to know, teach and learn from his students.

In addition to his contributions at GGU, Dean Keane was a prominent member of the San Francisco and California legal communities. Among other distinctions, he was appointed to the San Francisco Ethics Commission and served both as President of the Bar Association of San Francisco and as Vice-President of the State Bar of California. His law reform achievements were notable, including authoring San Francisco’s Handgun Control Ordinance and California Proposition 190, which reformed the State Commission on Judicial Performance.

Drucilla Ramey, who followed Dean Keane as Dean, remembered him this way: “Peter Keane was a courageous and inspirational leader of legal academia, the broader legal community, and his own beloved San Francisco. Whether as Chief Assistant Public Defender, President of the Bar Association of San Francisco, Dean of Golden Gate Law School or Chair of the San Francisco Ethics Commission, Peter met society’s greatest challenges head on, with his characteristic intelligence, bravery, and élan, and leaves behind him not only scores of loved ones, friends, and admirers, but also a more fair and equal system of justice.”

Dean Keane will be greatly missed by those at GGU whose lives he touched. Please join me in extending our condolences to his wife Nancy and their family. As soon as I have news of the celebration of his life, I will share it.

Sincerely,
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I had the pleasure of working with Dean Keane as a Board member in the early 2000’s. He was a great leader and inspiration to those he taught. Deepest sympathies to Nancy and his family.

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Rest In Peace.

He was a kind person. I am sorry for your loss.

RIP…

Sorry for your loss.

RIP

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