Syracuse University College of Law Welcomes New Students at its 2022 Convocation

“Only once in American history has one school had its graduates serving simultaneously as the local mayor, the state’s governor, its member of Congress, and as President of the United States. That school is Syracuse University in 2022.”

Chancellor Syverud

On Aug. 15, 2022, Syracuse University College of Law welcomed 241 new students at its Opening Convocation ceremony held at the National Veterans Resource Center on the Syracuse University campus. The NVRC represents SU’s steadfast and long-standing commitment to cultivate and lead innovative academic, government, and community collaborations positioned to empower those who have served in defense of the United States.

The new student body includes 144 students in the residential juris doctor program (Class of 2025); 95 students in the online JDinteractive program (Class of 2026); 22 LL.M. students from eight different countries (Class of 2023), three S.J.D. students from Brazil and India (Class of 2025), four visiting scholars, three-semester exchange students, and three international students in the two-year J.D. program. 

The students heard from Syracuse University Chancellor and President Kent Syverud, College of Law Dean Craig M. Boise, and the Honorable Nazak Nikakhtar L’02, G’02, Partner at Wiley Rein LLP, Chair of the firm’s National Security practice, and Co-Chair of the Foreign Investment practice (CFIUS/Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States). Nikakhtar specializes in international trade national security law, global competition policy, and supply chain resilience.  

As we emerge from the global pandemic, returning to old norms and learning to live with new ones, Chancellor Syverud highlighted the historical fact that “only once in American history has one school had its graduates serving simultaneously as the local mayor, the state’s governor, its member of Congress, and as President of the United States. That school is Syracuse University in 2022. And, for the first time, this University is simultaneously welcoming four new Tillman Scholars – three of them College of Law students. The Tillman Scholarship is the most prestigious scholarship award for US service members, veterans, and military spouses. Our large number of Tillman Scholars, like our large enrollment of veterans in this college, reflects our University’s tradition and mission to be the best University in the nation for veterans and military-connected students.”

Addressing the students, Dean Boise advised, “Now is an appropriate space to reflect on your ’future moment.’ For there are many unprecedented challenges — and opportunities — that await your bright minds, sharp skills, and a deep sense of justice: climate change and human security, threats to public health and community wellness, justice for communities of color, and the rights of vulnerable populations, the largest armed conflict in Europe since World War II, and its impact on our planet and our nation, supply chain challenges and global trade imbalances, and the respect for the rule of law and democracy abroad and here at home. And, of course, the challenges and opportunities that come with economic prosperity, innovation, and technological advances, such as artificial intelligence and drones.

“Our faculty are leading experts in these topics … and more! They, and the laws that impact them, will come alive for you in the classroom. I know, that at Syracuse Law, we will inspire you, prepare you, and help you gather and hone the tools to shape lives and change the world. That is our commitment to you because we know that’s why you are here.”

The class of incoming J.D. students has an undergraduate Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.55 for the 50th percentile, which is the highest seen at the College of Law in over 10 years. The 75th percentile GPA of 3.75 and 25th percentile GPA of 3.21 are also higher than the incoming class of 2021. The incoming class is comprised of 25 veterans/active duty military members, 10 more than the incoming class of 2021.

Nikakhtar offered words of encouragement from the perspective of a graduate, saying, “Syracuse will give you a wonderful, top-notch education. It will train you to master the law, it will teach you how to write persuasively, think analytically, and it will teach you grit. Embrace it. You will have good days and challenging days and they will all pass. Learn, learn as much as you can, because one day you will draw from the information you’ve acquired over these few years. 

“Whether you want to be law partners, professors, judges, politicians, career diplomats, business executives, stay-at-home parents, or part-time anything. Whatever you want to be, you will develop important building blocks here. The foundation of modern democracy is based on the American legal system, and it is the greatest legal system in the world. It may not be perfect, but when you learn it, you can fix it. Fundamentally, the knowledge of the law is one of many things that will enrich you as a person. And it’s something that will stay with you forever.” 

Overview of Incoming J.D. Students*

Class size: 241

  • J.D. Residential: 144
  • JDinteractive: 95
  • J.D. Residential Transfer: 2 
  • J.D. Two-Year: 2

LSAT Scores

  • 75th: 160
  • 50th: 157
  • 25th: 154

Undergraduate GPA (uGPA)**

  • 75th: 3.75
  • 50th: 3.55***
  • 25th: 3.21

Higher Degrees

  • Master’s Degrees: 47, including in business, education, and nursing
  • Ph.D.s: 4
  • 1 Doctorate of Nursing
  • M.D.s: 4


  • Average Age: 28
  • Gender: 100 male, 133 female
  • Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC): 31% (75 students)
  • First-Generation Students: 67


  • Veterans/Active Duty: 25****


  • States Represented: 33
  • Countries Represented Other than US: 10 (the Northern Mariana Islands, and ten other nations: Brazil, Canada, China, Cuba, Germany, Greece, India, Saint Lucia, South Korea, and the United Arab Emirates)

Overview of Incoming LL.M. and S.J.D Students

  • 22 new LL.M students from 8 different countries: Brazil, China, the Dominican Republic, Egypt, Mexico, Nepal, Nigeria, and Pakistan
  • 3 S.J.D. students from Brazil and India, one of whom is an alum of the LL.M. program
  • 3 exchange students from the University of Florence and the University of Rome (Tor Vergata), Italy
  • 4 visiting scholars from Brazil, Poland, and South Korea

*Statistics are as of August 17, 2022

**The Undergraduate GPA numbers are all higher in 2022 compared to 2021 numbers

***A median GPA of 3.55 is the highest average in over 10 years

****10 more Veterans than the incoming class of 2021