Alabama Congresswoman Martha Roby urged graduates of Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law to give a high priority to public service in their careers and to be ready for such opportunities.
“The call may come when you least expect it,” she told Cumberland’s 145 graduates during May 13 exercises in Wright Center, “and it doesn’t necessarily mean elective office. Public service is something beyond charity, and it’s an essential part of American life.”
Roby, a Montgomery native who represents her state’s Second District, asked the young lawyers to “please keep your eyes open” to opportunities such as pro bono legal work.
“The tradition of public service offers an alternative to big government,” she said. “I challenge you to be open for the call.”
Cumberland Dean John Carroll presented the law school’s Daniel Austin Brewer Professionalism Award to graduate Zachary La Fleur of Tucson, Ariz. The award was established by Cumberland professor and former Alabama Governor Albert Brewer in memory of his father.
The 34-year old Roby is a 2001 graduate of Cumberland who was elected to Congress as a Republican last November after serving on the Montgomery City Council. She is a member of the House Armed Services Committee.
Roby said she was willing to sacrifice time away from her young family to serve in Congress, “but that sacrifice pales in comparison to the service given by our American troops.” She spent Mother’s Day in Afghanistan visiting with mothers who are serving away from their families.
“I sat across from a woman soldier whose parents are keeping her 10-year old son while she serves, and met a young soldier whose wife is expecting their child due one day before he is scheduled to return.”
She commended the service people she met, and also such servants as a vascular surgeon who was volunteering at an army hospital in Germany where troops injured in the Middle East are recovering.
Roby noted that she had been in Congress five months, and she had learned “a good speech to be short . . . and to be short.” She spoke less than 10 minutes.