Gentleman's Rule Aids Judge
by Richard Paige
August 13, 2015
Thanks to the Gentleman’s Rule, every Wabash student understands the links between trust, responsibility, and freedom. Others can get that lesson later in life.
Recently, the College’s oldest tradition became the basis for sentencing in a disorderly conduct case in Evergreen Park, IL.
According to The Reporter newspaper, Judge Raymond Jagielski ’75 said the only requirement for the defendant while under court supervision was to “act like a gentleman” at all times.
Jagielski, the Presiding Judge of the Fifth Municipal District of the Circuit Court of Cook County, based his punishment on the fact that the Gentleman’s Rule was the same one he had to live by as a student at Wabash College.
“You have an opportunity to take this and use it as a positive, and I hope you do,” Jagielski said in the report, citing words every Wabash man has come to appreciate, albeit under more forgiving circumstances.
Jagielski says the rule is something to be used when you want people to succeed, because it forces you to ponder the consequences. Gee, what does that mean?
“It means a whole bunch of things: proper studying, proper health care habits, just everything in conducting yourself as a responsible citizen,” said Jagielski. “That’s what Wabash does, it prepares young boys who come to the college by turning them out as great men. Our alumni are incredible, and I think it’s because of that Gentleman’s Rule.”
The simplicity of the rule -- the student is expected to conduct himself at all times, both on and off campus, as a gentleman and a responsible citizen – is what makes those 22 words so effective. It’s an understanding of the freedoms you have and how those freedoms coincide with others.
“You just can’t do whatever you want, whenever you want to do it,” the judge of 23 years explained. “You have to be respectful of others.”
An interesting path led Jagielski to the bench. Following graduation, he worked loading trucks at UPS and as a teacher before entering the John Marshall Law School in Chicago.
He says his goal was simply to advocate, to help people. While that road was challenging, Jagielski knew he would eventually find success.
“I was always told at Wabash that once you graduate, you have the tools to do anything,” he said. “I got through it mainly because of the tools I mastered at Wabash. I’ll be forever grateful for that because without them, I still might be loading trucks on the docks.”
The impact those Wabash tools have often appear randomly, whether it be in the achievements of graduation, passing the bar exam on the first try, or in an even-handed sentence in a court room. Looking back, Jagielski ties the wisdom of his experiences to the Gentleman’s Rule.
“When you have the duties to sentence people, and not all cases are the same, you realize that people didn’t have the benefit of being in Crawfordsville, Indiana, with the professors that I had, and the opportunity to learn the Gentleman’s Rule,” he said. “I will continue to use it as long as I have the opportunity.”