At home at Willamette Law

by University Communications,

Nate Aggrey ’09 JD '16 is ready to apply his knowledge of the law to global issues.

Nate Aggrey didn’t come to Willamette to sit on the sidelines. Recruited by four different Oregon schools to play football, he chose Willamette as an undergraduate and immediately plunged into campus life.

“From the outset, I got involved in a variety of activities on campus, from sports and studies, to journalism and student government,” Aggrey said. “I also became very involved with the Hawaiian Club and danced in the luau every year.”

His decision to continue on to law school presented him with a similar, wide range of choices.

“I was accepted by every law school I applied to — on the East Coast, and in Washington State and Oregon,” Aggrey recalled. “Even though I was eager to go out of state, I started to think about what I valued.”

Born and raised in Ghana, Aggrey left Africa when he was 11 years old. He and his Protestant missionary parents lived in Okinawa, Japan, for three years before settling in the United States in 2000.

With his family living in Salem, Aggrey continued to stay in contact with his professors and his friends on campus after graduation. “It’s easy to feel connected at Willamette,” he said. “There’s a certain level of comfort and familiarity here, and I considered all the things that Willamette offers.”

As a law school student, Aggrey continued his “all-in” approach. In addition to his course workload, he served as president of Willamette's Multicultural Law Student Association, and worked on the university's plans for honoring Martin Luther King Jr. (which included the Stride Toward Freedom 5K Run and former Oregon Governor Barbara Roberts’ visit to campus). He also works as a law clerk in the Washington County District Attorney’s office, and has been a member of the Moot Court for the past two years.

In addition, Aggrey says that he’s benefited from Willamette’s supportive environment. “The fact that I have a relationship with the faculty and staff is a huge plus,” he explained. “If I have issues. I can address them with Dean Daniel Santos (Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Administration) or Dean Carolyn Dennis (Assistant Dean of Admissions). Going to Willamette also allows me access to the State Capitol, since I’m extremely interested in politics and social service.”

Best of all, since his mother still lives in Salem, Aggrey can stay close to his family.

Asked about his aspirations, he said that he wants to promote a greater understanding of other cultures and beliefs. “That’s my whole motivation in pursuing law,” he said. “Some sectors of our population have trouble empathizing with the other, not just domestically, but internationally.

“That’s why it’s my plan to go back to Ghana one day and help my family members there.”