“For 50 years, UC Hastings’ Legal Education Opportunity Program (LEOP) has been at the vanguard of access, equity and achievement for students who have overcome significant adversity to access a legal education,” says Elizabeth McGriff.
Elizabeth is intimately familiar with LEOP. In addition to serving as its director — and as UC Hastings equity and inclusion advisor — she is herself a graduate of the program. “Every day, I am honored and heartened to be entrusted with the beautiful responsibility of being at the helm of the program that was instrumental to my own success,” she says. “I have been gifted with the incredible charge of supporting students to success, driving outstanding academic and professional outcomes. I am constantly identifying ways to improve the program and executing them.”
Her role is broad; within LEOP, Elizabeth’s responsibilities include admissions, academic support, community building and personalized coaching on professional development, leadership and more. As equity and inclusion advisor, she supports efforts to involve students in fulfilling UC Hastings’ vision, while identifying challenges and building strategies to enhance equity and inclusion efforts.
“What has been most meaningful is the students and how exceptional they are,” says McGriff. “I convey to my students that they must have unshakable faith in themselves and to be confident, particularly in the face of adversity. Above all, I encourage them to believe that anything is possible.”
Name: Elizabeth McGriff
Job title: LEOP Director and Equity and Inclusion Advisor
Department/unit: Legal Education Opportunity Program (LEOP)
Location/campus: UC Hastings Law, San Francisco
When did you start working for UC? December 1, 2017
In five words or less, what do you do for UC? I open doors of opportunity.
Why do you love working for UC? It is at once thrilling and fulfilling to work in such an engaging, vibrant and intellectually stimulating learning environment. I adore working with the Legal Education Opportunity Program (LEOP) students who are truly special. Working for UC allows me to use my talents, interests and passion to serve the law school and students who have overcome significant adversity to access a legal education.
What’s something people don’t know about you? I love books. I love to read more than just about anything, but it’s more than that. I love how they look, smell and feel. I enjoy being around them. I am excited about the places they take me and how they educate me. I always have something to read at the ready and I don’t ever want to be without them. Books are pretty near the oxygen scale in terms of how much I have to have them.
Who’s your dream dinner guest (living or dead)? Maya Angelou. She was multi-talented, brilliant, strong, passionate, visionary, creative and courageous. Maya Angelou understood and cared deeply about humanity. She believed anything was possible and much like her powerful poem, she was a phenomenal woman.
What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received? If I do work that is in alignment with my skills, interests and passions, I will be in my element.
This story originally appeared on UCNet.