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Commencement 2014: Honorary Class Speaker
M. Brett Hall
Coeburn native Brett Hall has been fascinated with government and politics for as long as he can remember. He grew up listening to the opinions and thoughts of customers in his family’s shop, and talk could turn quite interesting in a gun and pawnshop.
“When you grow up in that setting, whether the people there know what they are talking about or not, they are going to talk politics,” the government and political science major said. “It does not matter what field or career you choose, there will always be talk of politics.”
Hall gravitated to sports in high school, but he always made time to stay involved in politics, especially the local variety. He worked the polls for a local school board candidate and became friends with Democrat and Republican office holders along the way. In the process, Hall decided to pursue a career in law, particularly when he shadowed a prosecutor and a judge in the local court system. He readily admits that he would visit the courthouse for fun, something some of his friends and family find amusing.
“It sparked my interest in law,” he said. “I’m going to law school. I would love to prosecute and wear the white hat.”
Hall was accepted by six law schools and is still weighing his options, and his career goal is growing closer.
“I always flirted with the idea in high school, but now it is becoming more of a reality that I’m going to pull this off,” he said.
Looking back on his years as a student at UVa-Wise, Hall says he could not have made a better choice to pursue a college degree.
“I can’t imagine going anywhere else than here,” he said. “We are a family. We all work together, butt heads from time to time, but we all pull together to help one another. That is what I love about UVa-Wise.”
Hall is one of many commuter students, and he admits to feeling as if he was not always a part of campus life. He decided to become more involved on campus and was elected to the Student Government Association. He organized a program that highlighted commuter students and acknowledged the good work they were doing on campus. He also created Commuter Appreciate Week twice a year to give non-residential students incentive to participate in all campus activities.
“Everyone wanted to go away to college, but we’ve got the best college right here in our backyard,” he said. It allowed me to be my own person and to spread my wings.”