12 law schools, 3 honors and 1 strong desire to pay it forward

April 3, 2019


Pierrce Holmes ’19 was accepted at a dozen of the most renowned law schools in the nation, chosen by his classmates to be the student speaker at commencement and honored as senior of the year by faculty in his two majors, philosophy and communication.

Yet despite all the attention being paid to him, his focus is on how he can use what he has earned to help others.

“I am most excited to get further down the path of doing something positive for people, my fellow people of color especially,” said Holmes, who has decided to attend Penn Law at the University of Pennsylvania. “Law school will help me figure out the best way to make significant and positive change in a system that, objectively, has a lot of progress to make. I will have the chance to advocate for those who cannot advocate for themselves and lend a voice to those who find theirs suppressed.”

Among the dozen other law schools to which he was accepted are Boston College, Georgetown University and Boston University. Penn Law is a member of the Ivy League and is among the oldest and most selective law schools in the world. U.S. News & World Report also ranks it among the top 10 best law schools. 

During his time at Stonehill, Holmes served as president of the College’s national honor society Lambda Epsilon Sigma and as co-president of the communication honor society Lambda Pi Eta; participated in the student dialogue group Men of Service, Academia, Integrity and Character (MOSAIC); played intramural basketball; volunteered with the David Jon Louison Family Care Center in Brockton, Massachusetts; and was a Stonehill Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) scholar with Professor Anne Mattina during his junior year and presented his research at two academic conferences. 

“Stonehill forced me to analyze things critically and holistically,” said Holmes. “My classes have covered such a wide breadth of subject matter that I find myself able to view things from numerous different angles or otherwise able to learn from people who have very different backgrounds — socially and academically — from my own who might be better versed in a particular topic. I feel prepared to understand all kinds of people and subject matters, which is a skill that makes me a better scholar, worker and person.”

In addition to being elected student speaker, he also won the 2019 Philosophy Department Award and the 2019 Ronald J. Fraser Award in Communication Studies, both in recognition of his academic achievement during his time at Stonehill.

“The word philosophy means the love of wisdom. But, as anybody who’s worked in philosophy could tell you, it’s easy to get sidetracked: by love of logic, love of being right, love of paradox, love of sounding profound. So many alluring simulacra!” said Joe Velazquez, associate professor of philosophy. “Yet Holmes has somehow kept his eyes always on the prize and, in his own quiet but forceful way, has tried to become wise – only that.”

Holmes says he wants to inspire others to achieve the success he has achieved with the goal of making the world a more just and compassionate place.

“While I have put in this work for myself, I also work for those like me who may not have been afforded the same opportunities as I have,” said Holmes, “for them to have another positive image to look up to, so they might understand that anything I can do, they can probably do better.”