April 14, 2011
Student Honored for ‘Above and Beyond’ Community Service
The Center for Ethics, Service, and Professionalism at Cooley Law School honored one of its students recently. At the school's Honors Convocation in Grand Rapids, the Student Great Deeds Award was presented to Jennifer Bylsma.
From left: Assistant Dean Tracey Brame, Professor Heather Garettson, Jennifer Bylsma, Karen Rowlader, and Associate Dean Nelson Miller
The award is given up to once per term per campus to recognize students who have demonstrated outstanding commitment to the service of others. Nominations are accepted from classmates, staff, faculty, or members of the community who have witnessed Cooley students going above and beyond in the area of public service, whether through long-term commitment or through a single act of great service.
During the ceremony, it was noted that Bylsma "went above and beyond what we expect from each other when given the opportunity to help a complete stranger."
Bylsma, a U.S. Army Reservist, participated in a bone marrow drive while completing basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., several years ago. She was contacted last year and told she was a match for a 68-year-old gentleman with leukemia. Bylsma said she knew little about the man, but she says she pictured a grandfather wanting every chance to recover and enjoy his children and grandchildren.
Her donation required two trips to Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C., to confirm the match and for the actual procedure.
"Many of us would have refused just because of the inconvenience; many students would have refused due to the demands of law school. Not Jennifer!" noted presenter Karen Rowlader, Assistant Director of the Center for Ethics and Professionalism at Cooley's Grand Rapids campus. "This young lady we are honoring today does not "stand down" to any challenge."
Bylsma was unable to attend the ceremony for the award due to mandatory Army Reserve training. There is a possibility that she will be deployed to Afghanistan in the coming weeks.
Rowlader added, "Not only did she donate bone marrow to a complete stranger, she is also willing to put her life on the line so that we may enjoy our rights as Americans. We are proud of Jennifer's accomplishments in law school and as a military intelligence officer. We are also inspired by her compassion for others."
Cooley Law School is the largest law school in the nation. Founded in 1972, the private, non-profit law school operates J.D. programs across Michigan in Lansing, Auburn Hills, Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor. Today, Cooley Law School has more than 15,000 graduates across the nation and worldwide and also offers joint degree and master of laws programs. Cooley offers enrollment three times a year; in January, May and September. Additional information about Cooley can be found at cooley.edu.