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Peter Silvestri

Class of 1982
Cook County Board of Commissioners, 9th District

As an undergraduate student at DePaul, I was already somewhat familiar with the lay of the land. I knew the campus we used to call "uptown," with its facilities and nearby places to eat, drink or play, because of my 3 ˝ years on Fullerton as a political science major. I also took courses in the Loop with high school friends who were all DePaul business majors of one type or another.

Though several Chicago area law schools accepted my applications, I decided to stay at DePaul. This was ultimately a great decision, as I remained good friends with so many classmates from undergraduate days, and made many new friends from around the country. In the ’70s, most undergraduate students at DePaul were local, from Chicago or nearby. That was untrue in law school, where I met young men and women who grew up or attended schools all across the state and nation.

My first day at the law school was one of the most memorable. If my educational career in law was based on the first period, I’d probably be doing something else today. Civil Procedure was anything but civil. I thought that if law school was to be like this class, I should have listened to my mother and pursued medicine! Luckily, some of my undergraduate fraternity brothers were in the same section and quickly allayed my apprehensions. School got much better, though that class did not.

The camaraderie that developed with our new section grew quickly over that first month through a common experience and goal—to pursue a legal education and ultimately a career in law. I distinctly remember a wide array of teachers, full time and part time, professors, judges, lawyers and retired lawyers. We studied, we studied and we studied some more, but we found time to play too. In particular, I can recall a group of us marching in the Saint Patrick’s Day parade and taking an exploratory tour of downtown establishments afterward. After the first semester, and shortly into the second, this day was an important break in the routine.

Most people agree that the first semester is the hardest. I believe it is also the time that the real friendships are planted, the real processes of study develop, and the basis for so many successful careers begins. Today, so many of the men and women of the class of 1982 have done so well, like the classes before and after us. Judges, teachers, elected officials, lawyers of every kind in every field, define so much of our city, county, state and region. DePaul Law, its teachers and staff were an integral part of that growth and progress in our lives. Next to our families and whoever paid the tuition, DePaul will always have a special place in my heart and the heart and lives of my classmates and fellow alumni. As they used to say: We Are DePaul!