AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – Amarillo College officials congratulated a former student, Roman Leal, for graduating from Yale Law School in May, and took the opportunity to note how community college students can go on to exceed in “universities of great distinction.”

Leal, who received his juris doctorate from Yale Law School, was noted as a sterling example by Amarillo College officials. His Amarillo College credit hours were a foundation for his bachelor’s degree at West Texas A&M University, said officials, before he went on to Yale.

“I loved my time at Amarillo College,” Leal said, “I especially loved the environment and the diversity in the classrooms, the ethnic and age diversity, the diversity of backgrounds of all the people. It was such a profound environment in which to learn and interact, so enlightening, like drinking water from a fire hose.”

However, as noted in Amarillo College’s announcement, Leal said that his peers who went to community college as well were few, despite possible benefits.

“I think only four of us in my class at Yale started out at community colleges,” he said, “and I think we had an enormous advantage over our peers because we’ve seen and interacted with a diverse cross section of the country, people with whom most students at Yale Law School are unfamiliar.”

Amarillo College said that Leal completed his classes at the community college after beginning a wholesale coffee-roasting business with his now-wife, Amy. Then, he transferred to WT and later was accepted to Yale.

While Leal noted that he experienced many unique and impactful mentorships through his higher education, he continues to look back fondly on Amarillo College.

“I’ve had immense privilege of learning from amazing professors at WT and Yale, but I can say without a doubt that the faculty at Amarillo College are first class,” he said. “They serve a student body with a wide range of unique challenges, yet they rise to the occasion to inspire a love of learning in incredible ways.”

Leal noted that he felt “eternally indebted” to Amarillo College for his experiences there.