RWU Magazine - Fall 2013 / Issue #9 - page 9

On the Waterfront
On the Waterfront
Tunde Adepegba ’14L
Third-Year RWU Law Student
U.S. Army First Lieutenant
F
rom
P
ush
-
ups
to
P
resident
?
Tunde Adepegba has a penchant for gaining entrée to
the people and places that shape America. Rejected for
a Department of Defense internship in D.C., he worked
connections and landed at the Pentagon, drafting briefs
about U.S. drone policy. A few years later, his exceptional
people skills landed him a private chat with Justice Samuel
Alito inside the Supreme Court. “One of my tricks in life
is to respect the people who don’t have the most glorified
positions – they make things happen,” Adepegba says.
SPY BUSTER:
This summer, Adepegba researched national
security laws in a classified espionage case for the Army’s Trial
Counsel Assistance Program. “We were attempting to get
evidence in from a classified source, but trying to get around
it being inadmissible as hearsay,” he says. “This hinged on
whether we can prosecute this person.” Secrets-leaker Edward
Snowden, by chance? His reply: “I can’t say.”
BEFRIENDING
THE ALITOS:
During Justice Alito’s visit to RWU Law in
2012, Adepegba clicked with Mrs. Alito over their military
connection (her father’s Air Force career), and she invited him
to call her for a tour of the Supreme Court. “When you hear
those things, you say, ‘OK, thanks for the offer,’” he says. Six
months later Adepegba cashed in his chips with “one of the
easiest calls I’ve made in my life,” he says.
ON CHILDHOOD:
Growing up in a public housing complex in Buffalo, N.Y.,
Adepegba contended with gangs, shootings and kids teasing
him about his interest in school. Raised by his mother – with
visits from his father, a Nigerian immigrant who works as a
corporate insurance broker – she installed church and school
as cornerstones in their lives. “My brother and I competed
to get the highest grades. We thought school was a refuge.”
PUSH-UP FATIGUE:
To win the Military Law Society’s
Push-Up Competition – a fundraiser he launched to benefit the
Rhode Island Veterans Home – participants pit their prowess
against Adepegba. “I’ve done over 1,000 push-ups in the last
two years. I’m tired by the end of the day.”
AFTER RWU:
“I’m
going JAG.” After retiring as colonel (in 20 years) he’ll aim for
the 2036 presidency. Don’t bet against him.
7
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