On May 1, 2022, the fourth annual Black Grad celebrated the achievements of Black students in McGill’s Class of 2022. The daylong event included speeches from this year’s Black Grad valedictorians, outstanding students who have earned the respect of the peers who they represent through their strong academic performance, leadership and commitment to making the University – and the world – a better place.
Jemark Earle is one of this year’s two Black Grad valedictorians.
“This valedictorian has a unique path,” said Black Grad MC Antoine-Samuel Mauffette-Alavo when he introduced Earle, “graduating with a Bachelors’ degree in Music before graduating today with his Bachelor of Civil Law. I first met him when he was President of the Student Society of McGill University.”
As part of the Reporter’s Spring 2022 Convocation coverage, we spoke with Earle.
What degree are you graduating with?
I am graduating with a B.C.L & J.D (Bachelor of Civil Law and Juris Doctor)
What is your hometown?
I was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario.
Why did you choose McGill?
I completed my Bachelor of Music at McGill in 2018 so returning to this university for law school was an obvious choice for me. I had fallen in love with the city of Montreal, and I was not ready to leave after my undergrad. Additionally, I wanted the opportunity to continue my studies in both English and French and to learn about the law through the lens of the common law and the civil law.
What are some of your highlights of your time as a McGill student?
It is hard to narrow it down because there are so many. If I had to pick three, they would be:
- Receiving my civil code from Dean Robert Leckey on the first day of Law School
- Attending the Black Law Students’ Association of Canada’s national conference in Vancouver
- Submitting my final paper as a university student
Three favourite places on the downtown or Mac campus?
- Seeing all the students emerge on Lower Field on the first day of the year with nice weather.
- Thomson House’s Terrasse in the summer.
- Watching Concerts at Pollack Hall in the Schulich School of Music.
What were some of the biggest challenges you faced during your time here and how did you overcome them?
The biggest challenge for me was my first year of law school. It was a completely new way to learn and be evaluated on midterms and exams and I was in way over my head. Going to my professors’ office hours and speaking with upper-year students who had similar experiences played a big role in overcoming these challenges, but I ultimately would not have been able to succeed if it was not for the endless support I received from my mom.
Tell us about the 2022 Class of Black Graduates
The Class of 2022 Black Graduates have continuously championed the opportunity to make change, provide resources and support to other marginalized students. Their activism has left its mark at McGill will forever be memorialized through events like Black Grad and McGill’s Action Plan to Address Anti-Black Racism.
Who or what will you miss most?
I will miss participating in Frosh (as a first-year and as a Frosh leader). I will miss the Law Students Association’s Coffeehouse, the long lines at Open Air Pub and the Black Students’ Network’s Soul Food Fridays. I will miss the collective panic as everyone scrambles to register for classes on the first day of course registration. I will miss all of my professors who had an impactful role on my professional growth – Peter Freeman & Professor Adelle Blackett. Lastly, I will miss all of the friendships I have made during my time at McGill. I am incredibly proud to have this institution as my alma mater and I look forward to keeping up to date with everyone’s future successes.
What advice do you have for new students to McGill?
Get involved! Whether you join a club, your faculty’s student association, an intramural sport, or a community organization in the broader Montreal community, get involved! Academics are certainly important but your time at university should not only be spent studying on the 6th floor of McLennan Library 24/7. Getting involved will enable you to meet so many people and plan and attend so many wonderful events that will help facilitate new friendships and new bonds that will give you memories that will last a lifetime.
Do you have anything to add?
Don’t forget to give back to the community! If an upper-year student or alumni helped you when you were in your first year, try and do the same when you reach that stage in life. Even the smallest act of paying it forward will have a significant impact on someone else’s life.