Law School presented Margaret W. Wong ’76 with its highest honor

Published January 26, 2013

“Hers is a true American success story, and we are so grateful to be able to benefit from her support and her wise counsel as we continue to build the Law School’s quality and reputation. She is an inspiration to our students in every way.”
Makau W. Mutua, Dean
SUNY Buffalo Law School

A nationally renowned Cleveland immigration lawyer who came to the United States as an immigrant herself, then worked her way through college, was honored in January with the Edwin F. Jaeckle Award, SUNY Buffalo Law School and SUNY Buffalo Law Alumni Association's most prestigious award.

Margaret W. Wong, a 1976 graduate of the Law School, accepted the award January 25 at the Union League Club, during the school's annual New York City Alumni Luncheon. Except for Western New York, the New York City area is where the greatest numbers of SUNY Buffalo Law School graduates live and work. The event was scheduled to coincide with the NYS Bar meeting held in Manhattan that week.

Wong, the recipient of a full-tuition scholarship for her Law School training, has built her immigration practice, Margaret Wong & Associates, into a powerhouse with offices not only in Cleveland, but also in Chicago, New York City, Columbus, Atlanta and Detroit, serving both individual and corporate clients throughout the United States.

At SUNY Buffalo Law School, she has served on the Dean's Advisory Council since 2006, helping advise Dean Makau W. Mutua on curriculum and other matters. She also has extended substantial financial support of the Law School, gifts that have supported an extensive scholarship program and endowed a full professorship. The SUNY Buffalo Law Alumni Association has recognized her extraordinary professional accomplishments by presenting her with the Distinguished Alumna Award for private practice in 2007.

"Margaret Wong's continuing support of and interest in the Law School has been remarkable," says Mutua. "Hers is a true American success story, and we are so grateful to be able to benefit from her support and her wise counsel as we continue to build the Law School's quality and reputation. She is an inspiration to our students in every way."

Wong, who in addition to her practice teaches immigration law as an adjunct professor at Case Western Reserve University, emigrated from Hong Kong as a young woman, and recently published a memoir about her experiences.

"It is my firm belief that the United States in still the best country in which to live, thrive, and become somebody," she writes in her book The Immigrant's Way. "I am living the American dream. … Most foreign-borns in the United States are tenacious survivors. We work hard to save and to bring our families to America to enjoy a better life – in living standards, personal freedoms, and environmental conditions.

"We also tend to be stoic, do not voice our opinions often, and are more generally accepting and accommodating to the not-so-great things that happen to us or around us, while being thankful for the good things that do happen."

Named for Edwin F. Jaeckle '15, the Jaeckle Award is given annually to an individual who has distinguished himself or herself and has made significant contributions to the Law School and to the legal profession. Previous recipients have included Hon. Charles S. Desmond, Hon. Matthew J. Jasen, Manly Fleischmann, Jacob D. Hyman, Hon. M. Dolores Denman, William R. Greiner, Thomas E. Black Jr. '79 and the 2012 honoree, Francis M. Letro '79.