Carolyn (De Salvo) Varadan

Judicial Law Clerk, Florida Second District Court of Appeal

After graduating from Wyoming Catholic College (WCC), I pursued a career in law. I attended Ave Maria School of Law, where I graduated second in my class (my study partner and now husband graduated first) and served as the managing editor of the Law Review. And I have started my legal career clerking for a Florida appellate judge.

WCC gave me the intellectual and spiritual tools to succeed in law school and as an attorney. Intellectually, I gained a deep love for our nation’s founding and Constitution at WCC, and I learned the ideals of government directly from the greats—Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Aquinas, Madison, Hamilton, Jay, and Washington. These ideals give my daily work as an attorney purpose where I advise a judge, interpret statutes and case law, and sort through opposing arguments. They also give meaning to the oath of fidelity I made to the Constitution when I became an attorney.

Likewise, I credit my success in law school to my intellectual training at WCC for three reasons. First, I was taught to think logically at WCC. After learning to apply first principles to particulars at WCC, learning to apply the law to individual cases felt like second nature. Second, I knew how to express myself clearly in my Socratic-style law school classes because I had four years of Socratic-style courses at WCC. Third, the study expectations in law school were easy to meet because I had already been expected to keep up with WCC’s challenging Great Books curriculum. Put simply, WCC made my transition to law school natural.

Spiritually, I also gained the habits and practices necessary to thrive at WCC. Specifically, the curriculum and the community at WCC challenged me to grow in virtue and faith, and I learned to take all matters—including my daily studies—to Christ in the Eucharist. I kept this practice in law school. And now my daily work would not be possible without it. I also learned what my role was as a member of the laity at WCC—how I had a duty to not only live virtuously myself but to bring the truth to society as Pope Paul VI explains in Lumen Gentium. This duty plays a special role in my job as an attorney where my daily work involves determining right from wrong.

In short, WCC prepared me for a fruitful and meaningful legal career, and I am grateful everyday for the education I received there.