Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Judge Baird Issues a Call to Public Service to Clayton State Graduates

GPSN Note: Giving back to one's community through public service is a high calling and one that demands a strong commitment to caring for our neighbor. Community involvement is one of the features that make our area a great place to live. Thanks to the Honorable Baird for reminding all of us of our duties to our fellow man.

The Honorable Michael J. Baird, one of Clayton State University’s most distinguished graduates and a long-time public servant, issued a call to some 400 graduates of the University on Saturday… a call to join him in public service and giving back to the community.

Speaking to both ceremonies of the University’s 38th Annual Spring Commencement, Baird asked the class of 2008 to take the road less traveled. Noting that surveys have shown that only one in 10 current college graduates think of running for public office, and that just 29 percent of graduates say they would consider a job in the public sector, Baird urged Clayton State’s newest alumni to give back to their community and to play a role in making their city, state or country better by becoming involved.

“There is no better calling than public service, no more noble service than public service,” he said. “You represent the best and the brightest. We need you to give back to your community.”

Baird knows of which he speaks. A member of the first baccalaureate class of Clayton State University (B.B.A. in Management, 1989), he is also a 1992 graduate of the Georgia State University College of Law where he earned a Juris Doctorate. A native of Clayton County, Baird worked his way through college as a police officer with the Lake City Police Department.

After graduation, he served as a prosecutor in Clayton County. In 1996, he was elected to serve as the chief judge of the Magistrate Court of Clayton County and served in that capacity until January of 2005 when he was appointed a senior judge. In addition to his duties in the court room, Baird taught in the School of Business at Clayton State for 13 years. He was recently appointed as a federal immigration judge in Dallas, and expects to be sworn in for that Texas position by the end of this year. He will, in effect, continue to do his duty.

“We have a duty to one another,” he told the graduates. “We have a duty to improving the lives of our neighbors.

“Consider the benefits that come from a career in public service. We each bear the burden of improving our community. You have a chance to help build that bridge to tomorrow. Answer the call of public service and be the leaders of tomorrow.”

A unit of the University System of Georgia, Clayton State University is an outstanding comprehensive metropolitan university located 15 miles southeast of downtown Atlanta.

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