MORGANTOWN, WEST VIRGINIA—As a combat trainer in the U.S. Army, Art Wolf’s personal motto was to always care for and put others first.
“The philosophy I tried to convey was that being a professional soldier is not about using your abilities to bring harm to others, it is about using those abilities to protect and help those in harm’s way,” said Wolf, a former sergeant who served in the 24th Infantry Division and the 1st Ranger Battalion.
Now an aspiring lawyer, Wolf is drawing on his military experiences as a second-year student at the West Virginia University College of Law. “I feel that my time in the military was beneficial to my approach in law school because I learned that success comes from your state of mind, discipline, and hard work,” he said.
Wolf’s approach to law school is working. He was recently named top student in his Alternate Dispute Resolution class and he serves as a certified magistrate court mediator, developing practice-ready skills. He also works in the George R. Framer, Jr. Law Library and, last semester, he was a teaching assistant. Another measure of Wolf’s success at law school comes from his classmates.
Last fall, they selected him for the WVU Law Culture of Excellence Exemplary
Student Award. It was the ultimate recognition from his peers of how Wolf is enhancing
the law school experience for those around him.
“It isn’t often that you see the word ‘superhero’ to describe a law student, but that is exactly what nominations had to say about Art,” said Janet Armistead, assistant dean of student affairs. “He is sympathetic, caring and a sincere supporter of classmates. He notices if someone needs help and if he asks if everything is OK, he really wants to know.” Classmates have retold two instances of Wolf’s ability to step in and lend a hand to those who need it.
Last summer and fall, Wolf volunteered to certify some of his fellow law students in scuba diving. On the way to a dive, he and a classmate came upon a car accident. Wolf immediately reacted, jumping in and offering assistance to the victim before the ambulance team arrived at the scene.
“Art immediately pulled off the road and went into medic mode,” said classmate Abbey Wolfe. “The woman in the car was trying to climb out of the car door, which was facing up. Art climbed in the car to check her out and then assisted her out of the car.”
In a dive class incident, a classmate became overwhelmed at 25 feet down and couldn’t resurface. Wolf swam over to her, offered her guidance and encouragement, and the classmate overcame her panic, saved her life, and attempted the dive again.
“I think that she really deserves the credit for overcoming her anxiety and apprehensions about going somewhere that’s cold and dark with limited visibility and doing a good job getting back in there,” he said. Wolf is somewhat overwhelmed at the Culture of Excellence award and other recognition.
“It’s really humbling that people would take the time—especially as busy as everybody is—and go out of their way to say those things about me. It’s really heartwarming and makes you feel really good about the people you’re around, so it means a lot,” he said.
Prior to attending WVU Law, Wolf earned his undergraduate degree in criminal justice from the University of North Dakota. It was working in law enforcement in Wyoming that led him to pursue a career in law.
“I worked with the prosecutors and the judges and they were just really phenomenal individuals,” Wolf said. “So watching how they did things made me think the next logical step would be to come to law school.” Upon earning his law degree in 2016, Wolf hopes to work in a prosecutor’s office and believes his education and experiences at WVU Law will be instrumental in getting him there.
“My fellow students are really good, nice people to be around—people that want to help each other succeed,” he said. “And the faculty legitimately and genuinely care about the students and their success. I’m so glad I made the decision to come here.”
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