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Skylar Stone: Doing Justice to Others
For Skylar Stone, law isn’t so much a social institution as a calling. A sophomore Criminal Justice major with an emphasis in Pre-Law, Stone is self-admittedly “stubborn” in his pursuit of becoming a prosecuting attorney, a goal the Mt. Juliet native brings with him every day to Cumberland University.
For Stone, it’s a matter of principle and personality.
“I’ve always had a strong propensity for equality and justice,” said Stone. “I’ve been told that I speak well, and I like to argue, so being a lawyer seemed like a natural fit for my ideals. The one-on-one attention I’ve received at CU has just helped me move closer to that inevitable goal.”
That goal has only come more sharply into focus for Stone since his arrival at Cumberland in the fall of 2010. In the year and a half since Stone came to CU, the scholar and musician has quickly established himself as a stand-out student, serving both as the president of Cumberland’s Criminal Justice club and as a player in the University’s Tuba Ensemble.
His success has not gone unrecognized. In 2011, Stone won the Albert Patterson Award for Outstanding Criminal Justice Freshman, an honor the scholar attributes in part to the aid he has received from faculty such as Professor of Criminal Justice and Public Administration Dr. William “Russ” Cheatham.
“Dr. Cheatham has definitely been a mentor to me,” said Stone. “He’s helped me foster roots in criminal justice that I can build on. Cheatham also has tons of field experience, which he uses to complement the theory we learn. He’s given me a much better idea of what I’ll be going into.”
That idea has come in the form of a variety of class and campus experiences for Stone. President of the Criminal
Justice club, Stone has written the group’s constitution and helped to broaden the organization’s aim. He has also become an ambassador for CU and its Criminal Justice program through visits to local schools with the club.
The driven student has also found a welcome outlet for his professionalism in CU’s Tuba Ensemble. A multitalented musician, Stone pushes himself not just as a tuba player, but also as a vocalist in the metal band Mors Mortum. Even so, Stone was surprised at the challenge he found in Cumberland’s band program.
“We’re a small ensemble, but I feel like I had to step it up as soon as I got here,” said Stone. “I’ve learned a great deal musically, especially with the help of our director, Associate Professor Stephen Coleman. It’s become about reaching a new par, not just showing up for class.”
For Stone, reaching those heights is a daily commitment. Now contemplating options for law school, the future lawyer hopes to eventually practice as a prosecuting attorney in Middle Tennessee. Helping to hold others accountable, Stone hopes he will be able to play a part in maintaining the societal balance he finds critical in justice.
It would be a role well suited to Stone, who has always carved out his own niche in law and in life with a “stubborn” determination.
“Law is critical for the balance it provides, and prosecutors help enforce that. I’ve always wanted to be a prosecuting lawyer, primarily because they have to argue so forcefully through evidence to prove a case and meet the burden of proof,” said Stone. “They have to be argumentative and go against the flow. I’ve always done that.”