Left: Larry Hagerman at the Monroe County Courthouse. As a graduate assistant for Hoosiers for Higher Education (HHE), Hagerman travels throughout the state to promote higher education.
The Student Bar Association (SBA) is Indiana Law’s student governing body. Each SBA representative is one of three people elected by their classmates to represent student interests and serve as a liaison between students, faculty, and administrators.
As the chair of SBA, it can be hard to find the balance between promoting the benefits of student government and tempering expectations about the group’s ability to effect change in administrative policy, but it’s a tremendous honor to know that my peers have chosen me to represent them. Serving on SBA has allowed me the opportunity to work closely with classmates, faculty, administrators, and alumni.
Another significant perk is that the SBA chair holds a spot on the Indiana Law Alumni Board. This is one of the most powerful and influential groups in the Indiana Law community, and it’s inspiring to sit on a board with a group of people who are so heavily invested in each student’s success. I’ve had the opportunity to form personal relationships with some of the school’s most prominent alumni, and that’s an experience I wouldn’t trade for anything.
Hoosiers for Higher Education (HHE) is a grassroots legislative advocacy organization that educates students, faculty, alumni, and friends of IU about the tremendous impact that higher education has on Indiana’s economy. We engage and mobilize our approximately 10,000 members to contact their congressmen when legislation that may effect Indiana University, and higher education in general, comes down the pike.
As the graduate assistant for HHE, my primary responsibility is to raise awareness about the organization among students throughout all eight of IU’s campuses and to promote our major annual event, the HHE State House Visit in Indianapolis.
I spend the fall semester attending student organization fairs and making presentations to classes and dozens of student groups. In the spring, I focus on coordinating and spreading the word about the State House Visit. I work for a terrific boss, HHE Director Debbie Sibbitt, who encourages me to tailor my responsibilities to my individual talents and abilities, and whose energy and support make for a stimulating and challenging working environment.
Through my work with HHE, I have gotten to know many of IU’s trustees and administrators as well as the state’s most influential legislative decision makers. HHE is one of many unique opportunities available outside of the law school, and it’s a one of a kind experience that I could have only gotten here.
On the first day of Contracts class during my 1L year, Professor Hannah Buxbaum walked into the room and had everybody’s names and faces memorized. I’m sure there were 70 people in that class. I’ll never forget that. It showed how much she cares about details, how serious she is about her job, and, most important, how much she respects her students. Having her as my Secured Transactions professor as a 2L only reinforced that impression.
Also, I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for Professor Don Gjerdingen. After I was admitted to IU, I came to Bloomington for a spring open house that was put on by the Admissions Office. I knew at the time that I would like to go to law school but couldn’t get ‘over the hump’ in terms of convincing myself that it would be worth the investment of time, money, etcetera. At the open house, Professor Gjerdingen gave a talk in which he spoke of the limitless potential of a law school graduate and the unique training that only a legal education can provide. Somewhere in the middle of that speech he said something that put me ‘over the hump’: He said, ‘After more than 20 years in this business, if I knew then what I know now, I’d have been smiling every damn day I was [in law school].’ His words meant a lot at the time, and they still resonate with me today.
I am one of eight kids and one half of the second set of twins in my immediate family. I loved growing up in a full house. Just about every personal trait that I have can be directly linked to my childhood, and every personal challenge I take on—including law school—begins with the support of my family. For example, without the patience and selflessness of my twin sister, Bridget, I’d have never made it through advanced algebra, pre-cal, or calculus in high school, much less through graduate school! Some of the most important things that all law students need are encouragement, support, and perspective, and I am extremely grateful that my family gives me all of those.