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Alum Teleicia Dambreville chosen as 2024 Penn State Law commencement speaker

Penn State alumna Teleicia J.R. Dambreville has been chosen as the 2024 Penn State Law commencement speaker.
Commencement speaker, alum Teleicia J.R. Dambreville, Esq.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa – Teleicia J.R. Dambreville, a 2013 law alumna from Penn State University, has been chosen to be Penn State Law in University Park’s commencement speaker for 2024. Victor Romero, interim dean of Penn State Law and the School of International Affairs, Maureen B. Cavanaugh Distinguished Faculty Scholar and professor of law, chose Dambreville not only because she is an accomplished alumna, but also a legal powerhouse, he said.

When approached with the offer to deliver the commencement address, Dambreville caught a case of imposter syndrome. Her husband convinced her that she has something valuable to share, she said.

“I am excited that Teleicia has graciously agreed to address the Penn State Law class of 2024,” said Romero. “Not only was she a tremendous contributor to our University Park campus while she was in school, but now, some 10 years hence, Teleicia has married significant service with excellent work wherever she has found herself.”

The Detroit native recently stood in the same shoes as current law students and has distinguished herself not only in the field of law, but also in her dedication to fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion in the corporate world through her efforts.

“Teleicia has successfully navigated both law firm and in-house practice, been a stalwart supporter of diversity initiatives both here and elsewhere, and is a constant source of wisdom and guidance to so many of our current and former students,” said Romero.

Dambreville currently serves as the director and senior counsel for employment at Burlington Stores Inc., a Fortune 500 company with a workforce of over 70,000 employees spread across more than 1,000 locations throughout the continental United States. In her role as in-house employment counsel, she manages Burlington’s employment litigation portfolio with remarkable skill and diligence.

According to Kristi Lane Scott, a 2003 Penn State Dickinson Law alumna and former Chief Privacy and Civil Liberties Officer at the Central Intelligence Agency, Dambreville “exemplifies intelligence, grace and excellence. She will serve as an inspiration to the graduates, offering them wisdom and pragmatic guidance. Simply put, she truly represents the best that Penn State has to offer.”

Start here. Go anywhere.

Dambreville earned her juris doctor degree from the Penn State Dickinson School of Law in University Park — when Penn State’s two law schools previously were unified — which made her the perfect candidate for this year’s commencement speaker as the two law schools prepare to reunify. She was recognized with the 2019 Penn State Alumni Achievement Award and the 2023 Penn State Law SBA Law & Equity Alumni Award. She sits on the alumni board for Penn State Law in University Park.

Dambreville said she still bleeds blue and white — all day. Every day.

As a law student, she ran the Student Bar Association (SBA) diversity committee, revitalized the Black Law Student Association (BLSA) as a collaborative effort between the University Park and Carlisle campuses — with the mission to perform transformative work done in the name of social justice.

Dambreville credited Kristi Scott for having a vision and paving the way as a driving force in Carlisle. Scott first built BLSA from the ground up before Dambreville and her now husband, Daivy Dambreville, 2013 Penn State Dickinson School of Law alumnus and principal counsel at Power Home Remodeling — whom she met at law school orientation — revamped it.

“She was an active member leading the Black Law Students Association,” reflected Scott. “In that capacity, she served as a beacon of light that honored the history of our organization, while leading the new generation of law students on both successful and accomplished paths.”

While in law school, Dambreville connected with the Career Services office and was recruited by the Philadelphia Diversity Law Group (PDLG) for a first-year fellows program that placed her with a local firm, Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel LLP.

“I had the great fortune to teach first-year legal writing to Teleicia Dambreville and wrote my first of many Penn State Law student recommendation letters for a summer internship with the Philadelphia Diversity Law Group for her,” said Michele Vollmer, associate dean, clinics and experiential learning; director, Veterans and Servicemembers Legal Clinic; and clinical professor of law.

“She was a mature and dedicated student, with excellent writing and analytical skills, who paid attention to details in her work, cared about policy initiatives, wanted to excel as quickly as possible, and showed a passion for learning and helping others from her first semester in law school," said Vollmer. "She will always have a special place in my heart.”

According to Vollmer, PDLG played a key role in Dambreville’s career. After two summers, she earned a full-time offer as a labor and employment associate. She then became a labor and employment associate at Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC, a larger firm in Philadelphia, before being hired at Burlington Stores Inc.

Post-graduation, she became a Penn State Law Alumni mentor and a mentor in the Penn State Law Minority Mentor Program, and married Brooklyn native Daivy one year later. Together, they have a six-year-old son who they said is on track to become a future Penn Stater.

Currently, Dambreville is a member of the bar in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Her commitment to her community is evident through her service on the board of directors for various organizations, including the Philadelphia Diversity Legal Group Alumni Association, Penn State Law Alumni Society, Providence Center, the Association of Corporate Counsel of Greater Philadelphia, and the National Employment Law Council.

Purposeful pivots

In the dynamic landscape of contemporary society, the law serves as a cornerstone, adapting and evolving to meet the ever-changing needs of a globalized world. Second and third-year Penn State Law students are entering a new era marked by technological advancements, shifting social paradigms and unprecedented challenges.

Dambreville’s history as a law student in University Park could potentially serve as a guide to these future graduates as they explore innovative solutions, foster inclusivity and champion justice.

“Teleicia Dambreville was an extraordinary student,” expressed Jill Engle, professor of clinical law. “Her work in my Family Law Clinic was thoughtful, creative, and deeply meaningful for the clients she served. The boundless energy she brought to her clinic work has continued as she has navigated a successful career in the private sector.”

Dambreville said she hopes to talk to these graduating law students about “failing forward” and sticking to their core values as they discover that there sometimes may not be opportunities in the spaces that they thought they wanted. She wants to encourage them to "pivot with a purpose" and to remember the core values that drove them to law school to become architects of change.

Embracing change: The dawn of a new legal era

At Penn State Law, future lawyers from Penn State Law learn how to foster a legal system that not only adapts to the demands of the present but also paves the way for a more just and inclusive future. Like Dambreville, Penn State Law graduates endeavor to rise to the occasion and work to champion the values of justice, equity and progress as they navigate the unchartered waters of the 21st century.   

Dambreville is commited to fostering diversity and inclusion in the workplace, she said. She chairs Burlington’s DEI Corporate Council, utilizing her extensive employment law experience to develop and implement initiatives that positively impact corporate employees.

“Her dedication to DEIB throughout her education and career has been nothing short of exceptional, and we are honored to have her as our 2024 graduation speaker,” said Vollmer.

Dambreville earned her bachelor of arts degree in English and African American studies from the University of Michigan where she excelled as a student-athlete on the women’s track and field team and where she became a lifetime member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.

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