FAMU Law Graduate Overcomes Adversity To Become Valedictorian

Andre Ousley

ORLANDO – A death in the family; a life-threatening illness; a rigorous academic program.

Any one of these challenges could derail the average student’s efforts to complete a legal education. But not Andre Ousley.

The 40-year-old husband overcame those obstacles to become a Spring 2024 graduate of Florida A&M University (FAMU) College of Law and to be named the 2024 Class Valedictorian.

“During my first week as a 1L, my father passed away.  In my 2L year, I contracted malaria and almost died,” Ousley said.  “At the end of the day, stuff happens.  It’s not whether you will face adversity. It’s how you will respond to that adversity.”

Ousley will be recognized for his outstanding academic achievements during FAMU Law’s Annual Hooding Ceremony on Saturday, May 11, 2024, at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress, One Grand Cypress Boulevard, Orlando, Florida 32836.  The event will honor 90 graduates of the Fall 2023, Spring 2024, and Summer 2024 classes. The keynote speaker will be Attorney Daryl Parks.

Having earned high grades throughout his three years in law school, Ousley was invited to join FAMU Law Review, where he served as assistant articles editor. He hopes to blend his professional background as a public servant with his new legal education to continue fulfilling FAMU Law’s mission of serving the underserved.

“My life’s mission has always been to protect the vulnerable. I was a public servant with the Department of Children and Families for 15 years because of this mission,” Ousley said. “This mission is what led me to become a Rattler for Justice, and I will continue to protect the vulnerable as a Rattler for Justice.”

After focusing on the Florida Bar Exam, he plans to pursue a federal clerkship.

“I owe my law school success to God’s grace and enabling ability — and my wife Princess’s unwavering support,” said the Orlando Jones High School and Florida State University graduate.

Ousley offers this advice to future law students and lawyers: “You are worthy enough. You are intelligent enough. But how bad do you want it?  In the words of Jesse Owens ‘We all have dreams.  But to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, discipline, and effort.’”