Daniel J. Dykstra Jr. ’69 discusses the merits of a liberal arts education

J. Dykstra Jr. ’69 of Rohnert Park, Calif., who serves as Deputy District Counsel, San Francisco District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

He says the law establishes a basic set of governing principles upon which a civilized society operates.

“In a perfect world, law provides a process that assures fairness and equality of treatment,” he says. “Of course, because humanity has flaws, this articulates goals that we should strive for within the legal process.”

Dykstra was in ROTC at Ripon and became an Army JAG attorney after law school. After his service in the Army, he joined the Corps of Engineers and has been with them for 34 years.

“I principally handle issues related to the administration of government contracts under federal law,” he says. “Beside my regular duties, that has allowed me to assist the Corps of Engineers’ efforts to build facilities in Afghanistan twice.”

Dykstra reviews contracts, environmental impact statements and project decision documents, which often requires an appreciation for the political or historical context in which the project is proposed.

“Having had a liberal arts background/training has helped immeasurably in being able to thoroughly review the documents,” he says.

“Personally, I find law to be fulfilling on two levels. First, the intellectual challenge caused by finding a solution or developing an innovative legal argument to various legal issues is very satisfying. Second, there is satisfaction in giving something back to my country.”


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