Tim Alan Garrison has been appointed pre-law advisor at Clemson University. Garrison, currently a professor of history and chair of the history department at Portland State University in Oregon, is a former attorney with an extensive background in pre-law academic advising.
“I am delighted to welcome Dr. Garrison to Clemson as head of our pre-law advising initiative,” said Cari A. Brooks, director of undergraduate student services in the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities.
“Modeled on Clemson’s health professions advising program, this new service will be available to students in every major at Clemson and will include individualized advising beginning at summer orientation and continuing after graduation, along with workshops and events designed to help students prepare for careers in the law,” said Brooks, who chaired the national search that resulted in Garrison’s appointment.
Garrison begins his new position at Clemson on April 1.
“I’m very excited to take on this role,” Garrison said. “What I’ve enjoyed more than anything else over my long career has been helping students. I’m really looking forward to the opportunity to make advising students my full-time job.”
Leader in advising
Garrison has served as a professor of history and pre-law advisor for more than 20 years at Portland State University. He has held top leadership positions, including terms as president and treasurer, in the Western Association of Prelaw Advisors. He also served on the executive board of the Pre-Law Advisors National Council. In addition, in 2012 Garrison co-authored a book on the scholarship of pre-law advising, “Before the Paper Chase: The Scholarship of Law School Preparation and Admissions.”
“Garrison impressed the search committee not just with the depth and breadth of his experience, but with his personal enthusiasm to help students achieve their goals,” Brooks said. “He has already developed a comprehensive plan for the first year of the program, which includes building relationships with both regional and national law schools as well as fostering partnerships across campus.”
The pre-law advising program is supported by the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities but will serve all Clemson students.
Returning to Clemson
Garrison earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting at the University of Georgia in 1983 and his J.D. at its School of Law in 1986. He later earned his master’s degree in history at Clemson in 1993. In 1997, he received his Ph.D. in history from the University of Kentucky.
“I felt at home and welcomed when I attended Clemson back in the early 1990s, and I feel like I will be coming home,” Garrison said.
“Tim is a highly informed, experienced and energetic pre-law advisor,” said Brookes Brown, an assistant professor and director of the Law, Liberty, and Justice program within the department of philosophy and religion at Clemson. “He is going to be a great benefit to Clemson students who are thinking about applying to law school and I’m very excited to have him on board.”
Garrison said the pre-law advising initiative will be comprehensive.
“My overall goal is to create a program that will provide students with all the information they need from the beginning of their inkling that they might be interested in law school, on through the application process, and on until they leave to matriculate into the law school of their choice,” he said. “My primary goal is not to get as many students into law school as we can. My goal is for students to come back 10 or 15 years from now, and, whether they attended law school or not, have them tell me that they are happy and contented in their career. That’s my No. 1 priority.”
Garrison said he will reach out to high school counselors as part of his efforts to spread the word that Clemson is a respected university for prospective law students to attend. He also will connect with law schools across the country to make sure they are familiar with the outstanding quality of Clemson students.
“What we need to publicize to the public, to high school students, and to the law schools is that many Clemson students go on to become the outstanding lawyers and judges of their generation,” he said.
As a scholar, Garrison has written dozens of essays, book chapters and encyclopedia articles on Native American history and U.S. policy toward Native Americans. His books include “The Native South: New Histories and Enduring Legacies” and “Encyclopedia of United States Indian Policy.”
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