SU’s top Spring 2015 grad is on his way to Harvard Law School


Daniel Joiner said he knew he had a chance to be the Chief Student Marshall of his 2015 spring graduating class. But, like anything else, he had to see it essentially etched in stone.

The English major from Baton Rouge's Redemptorist High School said it wasn't an easy climb but he feels rewarded for his dedication toward earning a 3.8 grade point average.

And, there is another big payoff for the Baker, La., native. Once the 21-year-old leaves Southern, he is on his way to Harvard Law School. He smiles when he says the words.  "Har-vard Law School," he says slowly, letting it all sink in.

But, he noted, it's Southern University that showed him the way.

Joiner, as the owner of the highest grade point average in his graduating class, will lead some 665 students into the F.G. Clark Activity Center at 10:30 a.m., Friday, May 8.

It's no surprise that Joiner came to Southern. While coming out of high school with the grades and scores to go anywhere, Joiner said it was Southern all the way.

"Both of my parents came to Southern University," he said. "I virtually grew up at Southern and watching Southern football."

If he didn't choose Southern, "I was going to an HBCU (historically black colleges and universities)," Joiner said. "In my household Black culture was always celebrated."

He mentioned how his parents leaped from being financially poor as children all the way to middle class in one generation by going to and graduating from an HBCU. His father, Author, is an attorney and his mother, Bernadette, is the program coordinator over an educational program aimed at pre-schoolers.

Joiner said he had known for a long time he wanted to be a lawyer like this dad. But his father gave him some wisdom about choosing his college major. "He told me don't gear my college career toward law school...You don't necessarily have to major in political science..."

Instead, his father said, "Pick something that you are passionate about." Joiner, an avid reader and writer in high school selected English as his major and has felt good about the choice.

During his stay at SU, Joiner said he has learned that he's part of a family and that professors have been willing and eager to work with him when he needed guidance.

Still, though, it's his parents who have been his beacons. "My dad never made me feel like there was something I couldn't do."

Along that same vein, when Joiner set his sights on Harvard Law, there was nothing that would stand in his way. He spent all of last summer studying for the law school entry exam.

His scores were excellent and, as Joiner said, "I got the call March 30,  at 2:17 p.m" from Harvard Law School saying "I was in."

Joiner yelled and ran around his neighborhood screaming. The mail carrier walking through the neighborhood asked what he was so happy about. Once told, "He congratulated me, too," Joiner laughed.

He called his brother to tell him the news. He then called his parents to let them know.  Joiner said he appreciated the sacrifices his brother David made for him to be able to study non-stop for the LSAT. "He's my best friend," Joiner said.

Leaving Southern "will be kind of bittersweet. I knew this day would be coming," he said.  "You know I will be wearing my Southern gears as often as possible at Harvard...I am really proud to be an alumnus of Southern University." 



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