Magazine Feature / People

Alumna returns from war zone with gift for DU

gift presentation

Sturm College of Law Dean José Juárez and alumna Celeste Gamache with flags Gamache flew over Kabul, Afghanistan. PHOTO BY: Chase Squires.

Even in a war zone half a world away from the University of Denver, Air Force Maj. Celeste Gamache’s thoughts were still with her alma mater.

Gamache, a 1986 DU sociology and a 1989 Sturm College of Law graduate, has spent her entire career traveling the world as an attorney in the Air Force Judge Advocate General corps. With frequent relocations, she’s served in Washington, D.C., Korea, England, Japan and last year in Kabul, the capital city of war-torn Afghanistan.

It was there on Sept. 11, the fifth anniversary of America’s worst terror attacks, that Gamache flew two flags over the American military outpost during a formal ceremony. She returned this year to present those flags to the University — one for DU and one for the College of Law.

“It was something that I really wanted to do, some way to remember the people at the University and to bring something back,” she says.

Gamache says she values her experiences at DU and remembers Denver fondly, no matter where she is stationed. Currently, she is serving north of Salt Lake City at Hill Air Force Base in Ogden, Utah.

Sturm Dean José Juárez thanked Gamache for the gesture and says her work in the JAG corps and her rich variety of legal experiences would serve as an excellent example to future graduates of what they could expect as a lawyer serving in the military.

Gamache says serving in the JAG corps offers lawyers a little of everything. On any given day she could be interpreting military criminal law, arguing for a client accused of a crime, handling an environmental law claim, reviewing human resources documents or negotiating with a city adjacent to a military base. In Afghanistan, she spent much of her time working with financial documents and reviewing contracts.

“We have to figure out a way to get your experiences to our students,” Juárez says. “There has always been a great deal of respect for the (JAG) corps. It is really all about justice.”

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