Two Generations Shaped By One University
I am the first black Editor in Chief of the Ohio State Law Journal, which has transformed my law school experience and carries great significance in my mind. I enjoy representing the university that I love and dedicating my time toward a set of objectives that bring good things to the Ohio State community. Despite my sense of accomplishment and the responsibilities of the job, I never forget that I didn’t make this achievement possible on my own. In fact, my success is years in the making, built from the opportunities provided by The Ohio State University.
My father is the son of working class people who fled the violence and segregation of the South in search of new opportunities and a better life. When my father was in high school, he and all of his black classmates were advised that they were not “college material” and to seek a skill at a trade school. Though my grandfather was a welder and my grandmother worked as a medical tech, my father had aspirations to be a physician. After he became the first person in his family to graduate from college, Ohio State gave him the opportunity to fulfill his dream and attend medical school.
I was born in Columbus during my father’s last year of medical school and one of my first big events was attending his graduation at the Horseshoe. As I’ve grown older, I understand that our family’s Buckeye fandom is an outgrowth of our deep love for The Ohio State University. Because of Ohio State, I started out with the biggest head start in the history of my family and I was determined to make the most of it once I decided to attend law school.
When I got to Moritz (Ohio State’s College of Law), I knew I wanted to do something that would properly reflect the significance of this university’s role in my life and share that energy with others. During my time at Moritz, I’ve been involved with the Black Law Students Association (BLSA) and the Ohio State Law Journal, as well as the American Constitution Society. I’ve also mentored students at Moritz and an undergraduate student at Ohio State. In addition, I volunteer my time at university events whenever I am asked because I want to share my love for Ohio State and let people of all backgrounds know that their efforts will be rewarded here.
In all my efforts outside of the academic sphere of law school, I’ve been energized by the deeper meaning that Ohio State has in my life. This university transformed my fortunes in life before I was even born and helped take my family to new heights just two generations from sharecropping. I’ve tried to show my love for Ohio State and this university’s indispensable impact on my life in everything I do. I am motivated to share the positive transformation that happened to me and my father before me with other students from all backgrounds.
For students thinking about college and professional school, my advice is simple: GO FOR IT. My story is built on my father’s determination to become a doctor, which set me up for success from the beginning. You have the ability to transform yourself, inspire others, and unlock the untapped potential necessary to improve our world. Seek an educational environment with people that will invest in you and help you cultivate your sense of purpose. I’m rooting for you because I know that you can achieve your goals if you ask the right questions, believe in yourself, and never give up. I know that your success is possible because my father showed me how to do something nobody in our family had ever done before. If you are reading this, my hope is that you will find an educational experience that impacts your life in the way Ohio State has impacted mine.
A Cincinnati, Ohio native, David is a 3L law student in the Moritz College of Law at The Ohio State University. He currently serves as the first Black Editor-in-Chief of the Ohio State Law Journal. In his spare time, David enjoys sports (more specifically baseball), politics, and history. He prides himself on being able to draw on his experiences on the field/court, in the classroom, and apply them to meet the challenges of the day. Encountering problems and witnessing the issues people face on a daily basis inspires David to search for solutions. Upon graduating from Ohio State’s College of Law in spring 2019, David will work as a law clerk in the Chambers of the Honorable Raymond A. Jackson of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.
David’s Educational History:
2009 - HS Graduate, Princeton City School District
2013 - BA in political science and government, Walsh University
In progress - Doctorate of Law (J.D.), The Ohio State University
Connect with David:
David Roper (LinkedIn)