'You Can Come from Lamar and Go Anywhere:’ Grad Brendon Camp on his journey to Harvard Law

Brendon Camp was incredibly (and understandably) nervous for his Harvard Law School interview. As the first of his family to pursue any education beyond a bachelor’s degree, it was an opportunity he had only dreamed of when starting his LSAT journey.

When the interviewer asked about Lamar University, he jokingly referred to it as “Harvard on the Neches” — an old nickname still used by some professors and lawyers.

Despite the tense situation, Camp kept things light and humorous in his interview — a choice that he said may have been the deciding factor for his acceptance into Harvard Law School. Brendon Camp

But while the recent graduate looks to the bright future, he also reflects on his journey at “Harvard on the Neches” — the ups and downs, the awards and accolades, the challenges and the hard work, as well as the opportunities afforded to him by Lamar University.

Many things could be said about Camp. He graduated with honors on May 13 with a bachelor’s in political science and criminal justice. He is a prolific award-winner and high-achiever, winning numerous accolades in his time at Lamar University.

Walking the stage last week, Camp, like many students, graduated with a passion in his field; however, his fervor for political science and criminal justice wasn’t always so. He originally wanted to be an actor in middle school, he said, but it was some time in high school that he shifted to his current professional goals and found his calling, so to speak.

“My favorite thing about both of my majors is that they are each connected to every other aspect of life. Dr. (Terri) Davis once said it is a little audacious to study political science, as it is the field that connects all other aspects of life and is, to some degree, a study of everything,” said Camp. “I chose to study political science and criminal justice because I knew they would be a good backbone for studying the law. I decided to look into the legal field because I knew it would allow me to have a mentally stimulating and rewarding career, while hopefully being a positive force in the world.”

It's important to remember that before he walked the stage last week, he, too, was a high school senior trying to decide which university to attend.

“I came to Lamar University because of the incredibly generous scholarship opportunities,” Camp said. “I likely would not have been able to attend a 4-year university like Lamar without the financial assistance I received.”

He remembers his first classes — Corrections with Dr. Lucy Tsado and Introduction to Political Science with Dr. Davis. Unlike many freshmen, however, he wasn’t quite as nervous as you’d expect first coming to college.

“I had taken many dual credit classes and summer classes through a community college, so I wasn’t in an entirely new world, but I was excited to be learning about something that interested me greatly,” he noted.

Camp would soon become involved in many organizations, such as LU Pre-Law society as Treasurer and VP, LU Moot Court as president and VP, SGA briefly as PR chair, ambassadors, Model UN, the Reaud Honors College, Pi Sigma Alpha and Omicron Delta Kappa.

He would also come to be recognized for his achievements — the Plummer Award, Irving O. Dawson Award, the C. Robert Kemble Award, Senior of Significance Recognition, President's List all eight semesters, National Runner-Up in Pi Sigma Alpha's Best Undergraduate Paper Contest, quarterfinalist at regional and invitational moot court competitions and honored and distinguished delegation recognitions at state and national Model UN conferences.

Of all the accolades, however, Camp said the ones that means the most to him are the Kemble award and the Dawson award.

“The Kemble award surprised me the most and it means a great deal to me that I am seen as having a strong impact upon Lamar,” he said. “The Dawson award also means a lot to me because of the name and legacy of Irving O. Dawson. Though I have never met him, the legendary story of him helping David Beck through his time at Lamar reflects the kind of person I want to be and that all should strive to be. Dr. Davis detailed that story in a recent LU Moment podcast episode.”

Aside from the awards and the accolades, he has also made memories at LU that will last a lifetime — even if they didn’t actually take place at the university.

Brendon Camp“My favorite moment at Lamar University probably wasn't actually at Lamar,” Camp said. “Sophomore year, I was able to visit the nation's capital with the Reaud Honors College. We were there for the National Model UN Conference, but we had plenty of extra time to explore and it was a lot of fun while getting in some experiential learning.”

Of course, there were some challenges on the way, Camp said, explaining how he was working full-time, running a small online business and attending school full-time as well.

“I definitely learned the meaning of time management and stress, as some days I would run from my law firm job to my desk shift as an RA, then to fill orders and write a paper after,” he said. “Most days were pretty action packed so I am definitely looking forward to resting this summer before gearing up for law school this fall.”

This part of his journey came to a close on graduation day, May 13. But Camp will only be coming up for air before he plans to attend Harvard Law School.

“(Graduating) felt good, but not as good as you'd expect. It is definitely both a sigh of relief and a breath of fresh air to have had my years at Lamar culminate into my diploma, but knowing I still have three years of law school right around the corner made it feel like less of an end and more of a pause,” the recent graduate said. “But I do enjoy learning when I am interested in the topic, so I am also excited at the same time.”

The moment he got the call that he’d been accepted to Harvard felt like a dream, Camp explained. “It felt amazing to have all the hard work of maintaining a 4.0 and earning a strong LSAT score be validated and be worth it."

His plans for the future look bright, but Camp noted he will never forget Lamar University, which set him on this journey.

“I am moving to the Boston area for Harvard with my fiancée, who I plan to marry this year. After law school, we might stay on the east coast for a little while but plan to eventually return to Texas to start a family. I want to work somewhere within the government on appellate or constitutional law issues, but will be happy in any role that is both mentally stimulating and spiritually fulfilling,” Camp said, noting that he will always remember his time at Lamar University and the promising path it set him on. “Lamar may be a smaller school, but it is jam-packed with resources and amazing professors. I hope to stay in touch with the professors I have found a connection with. Lamar has certainly provided a strong backbone for my study of the law. My experience here has shown that you can come from Lamar and go anywhere.”