Commencement Day Awards

Sunday, May 17, 2020

These awards recognize student achievement in a wide range of areas including academic excellence in particulars areas of study; outstanding advocacy skills; leadership both within and outside the law school; and exceptional commitment to the mission of a particular community or student group.

Congratulations to all!

On this page:

Special Award

The Class of 2020 Resilience Award
As voted upon by the faculty of the School of Law, this award is presented to the Members of the Class of 2020, who have triumphed in the face of adversity and overcome extraordinary circumstances with grace and integrity to complete the 2019-20 academic year.

Our Top Honors

Max Koren Award is presented to the member of the graduating class, who, in the judgment of the faculty and the dean, has exemplified the highest standards of the profession by virtue of scholastic achievement, leadership and dedication to the ideals of the law. The selected student will receive a certificate and a prize. This award is supported by a gift from M. Robert Koren, Class of 1944, and son of Max Koren.

  • Charles Ross Terranova

John N. Bennett Achievement Award is presented to the member of the graduating class judged by the faculty to demonstrate the highest scholastic achievement in the graduating class. The winner’s name is inscribed on the Bennett Cup, which is displayed in the School of Law. The award is named in honor of John N. Bennett, Class of 1933.

  • Kathleen Hannon McGraw

Dale S. Margulis Award is presented to a member of the graduating class who has contributed the most to the School of Law and the community. Candidates for the award are nominated by members of the graduating class, and the recipient is selected by the deans. Dale S. Margulis, a member of the the class of 1982, died suddenly in August 1982. His classmates, family and friends established this award to honor his memory.

  • Abisha Vijayashanthar

Awards and Prizes

Carlos C. Alden Award is presented by the Bar Association of Erie County to the member of the graduating class making the greatest contribution to the Buffalo Law Review, as decided by the Law Review editors and the faculty adviser. Carlos C. Alden was dean of the School of Law from 1904-1936 and Professor of Law from 1904-1955.

  • Courtney Ann Way

Award for Excellence in the Study of Health Law is presented to the student who demonstrates exceptional academic performance in the area of health law. This award is presented by the American Bar Association (ABA) and the Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. (BNA).

  • Bridget Claire Daley

Award for Excellence in the Study of Intellectual Property Law is presented to the student who demonstrates exceptional academic performance in the area of intellectual property. This award is presented by the American Bar Association (ABA) and the Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. (BNA).

  • Samuel Edward Kielar
  • Fallon Elizabeth Martin
  • Jay C. Moretti Jr.

Award for Excellence in the Study of Labor and Employment Law is presented to the student who demonstrates exceptional academic performance in the areas of labor and employment law. This award is presented by the American Bar Association (ABA) and the Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. (BNA).

  • Christine Marie Naassana

Clinical Legal Education Association (CLEA) Outstanding Student Award is presented to a student who has excelled in assisting or representing individual or organizational clients; and who has provided thoughtful exploration of legal, ethical, strategic, professional, and other pertinent issues raised in a particular clinic.

  • Colton James Kells

Robert J. Connelly Trial Technique Awards are presented to the students who have the best performance record in the course in trial technique, as selected by their instructors. The award is presented in honor of Robert J. Connelly, who was an exceptionally able trial lawyer prior to his tragic and untimely death at age 44. The awards are presented by the Western New York Trial Lawyers Association.

2019-2020

  • Adam Thomas DelleBovi
  • Michael Scott Garrett
  • Gina Marie Middleton
  • Chloe Jane Nowak
  • Samantha Rae Rubino

2018-2019 (Received as a 2L)

  • Destiny Michele Johnson
  • Heather R. Kimmins
  • Cassidy Mariah Martin
  • Brittany Elizabeth Morgan
  • Morgann Kayla Obrochta
  • Rebecca Lynn Postek
  • Rachel M. Vicario

Professor Louis DelCotto Award is given to the member of the graduating class whose academic performance in the area of taxation is outstanding, as recommended by the faculty. The award commemorates Louis A. DelCotto, Class of 1951, a beloved professor who taught tax law from 1961 to 1998, and developed the sequence of courses in taxation taught at the School of Law.

  • Heather R. Kimmins

Justice M. Dolores Denman Award commemorates the Honorable M. Dolores Denman, Class of 1965, who was the first woman to be named presiding justice of the New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Fourth Department. Justice Denman was a single parent while in law school, and yet managed to graduate as class valedictorian. This award is presented by the WNY Chapter of the Women’s Bar Association to a member of the graduating class who is a custodial parent to offset the costs of daycare and other child rearing expenses during the bar study period.

  • Rachel M. Vicario

Maurice Frey Award is given to the member of the graduating class whose academic performance in the area of family law is most exceptional. It is named to honor the memory of Maurice Frey, a prominent attorney who cared deeply about legal education, created the Trial Technique Program, and taught at the School of Law for a number of years. He also worked tirelessly in the community to ensure that our legal system served and protected all members of our society.

  • Rachel M. Vicario

William R. Greiner “Committed Humility” Award is presented to the student in the graduating class who, in the opinion of the Vice Dean for Student Affairs and the two most senior members of the faculty, best exemplifies the style of leadership that distinguished Bill Greiner. In his roles as Associate Dean of the School of Law, and as Associate Provost, Provost, and for 13 years President of the University, he exemplified an openness to the opinions of others, humane compassion for individuals, a sense of perspective and proportion, a love of humor and irony, and, most importantly, an acceptance of personal fallibility.

  • Tevon Tyrel Carpenter

Justice Philip Halpern Award is given to the member of the graduating class for excellence in writing on The Buffalo Law Review. Prior to becoming a Justice of the New York State Supreme Court, Justice Halpern was dean of the School of Law and a member of the faculty for 27 years. The winner is determined by the editorial board and the faculty adviser.

  • Christine Marie Naassana

Professor Thomas E. Headrick “Trees and Forest” Award is given to the student of corporate finance who most clearly recognizes that a corporate practitioner needs both to understand the transaction fully and to get the details precisely correct.

  • Douglas V. Zaccagnino

Judge Matthew J. Jasen Appellate Practice Award is presented to the member of the graduating class who in course work and Moot Court Competition has shown outstanding achievement in appellate advocacy. The award is given to honor the memory of Judge Jasen, Class of 1939, and is supported by his friends and former clerks.

  • Peter Philip Gartner

Milton Kaplan Award in Law and Social Development is named to honor the memory of Milton Kaplan, Professor of Law from 1965 to 1986. As teacher and colleague, Professor Kaplan is admired for his selfless dedication to students and colleagues and for his penetrating yet admirably unassuming scholarship. Throughout his career, he was committed to the shaping of law to improve the conditions of public life in local communities around the world. The Milton Kaplan Award honors a member of the graduating class who best demonstrates exceptional commitment to the study of law and social development in an American, comparative, or international context.

  • Emily Chisholm Gallagher

James M. Kieffer Trial Excellence Award is presented to the member of the graduating class whose proficiency in trial advocacy has been most outstanding. Selection is based on performance in both coursework and trial competitions. The award is named in memory of James M. Kieffer, a nationally recognized trial attorney who practiced in Western New York.

  • Morgann Kayla Obrochta

David Kochery Award is provided by the family and friends of David Kochery, who taught at the School of Law from 1953 to 1980. It is awarded to a member of the graduating class who has taken an active part in the student community through service and involvement in one or more student organizations, and who has performed exceptionally well in courses in procedures, remedies or conflict of laws.

  • Mohammed Akber Alam

Professor Virginia Leary Award is given to the member of the graduating class whose academic performance in the area of international law is outstanding, as recommended by the faculty. The award is given in memory of Virginia Leary, a beloved SUNY Distinguished Service Professor who taught international law from 1976, and developed the sequence of courses and externships in international law at the School of Law.

  • Erica Lynne Chiodo
  • Kristen Valerie Lew

Minority Bar Foundation of Western New York, Inc. Award is presented to a member of the graduating class who, in the judgment of the Minority Bar Foundation and the School of Law, has exemplified the high standards of the profession by virtue of scholastic achievement and leadership, and who has demonstrated a significant commitment to effectuating changes within the legal system that address the needs of the minority community.

  • Natalia Marte

Moot Evidence Award is presented to the member of the graduating class for the best performance in the area of evidence as determined by the faculty. The award is given in honor of Welles and Caroline Moot and in remembrance of Adelbert Moot, who taught evidence in the founding years of the School of Law.

  • Kathleen Hannon McGraw

Albert R. Mugel Award is given to the member of the graduating class who has demonstrated the greatest proficiency in future interests and estate planning law. The award is named to honor the memory of Albert R. Mugel, Class of 1941, a founder of the law firm of Jaeckle Fleischmann & Mugel. He taught future interests and estate planning at the School of Law as an adjunct professor for over fifty years. During his long career in practice, he served the community with great distinction.

  • Rochel Cruz Eustaquio

Ryan J. Mullins Award is given to the member of the graduating class demonstrating the greatest commitment to and proficiency in criminal law and criminal trial practice skills. Ryan J. Mullins, a member of the class of 2005, died suddenly in September 2003. To honor his memory, his classmates, family, friends and members of the School of Law community established this award.

  • Emma L. Freedenberg

Order of Barristers is a National Oralists Honors Society. The members include students who have shown dedication and who have excelled in the art of oral advocacy and service to the Moot Court Board. Each year, ten students are elected to membership in the organization.

  • Alexander J. Fantauzzo
  • Diana Rose Ganis
  • Carrington Marie Garber
  • Peter Philip Gartner
  • Destiny Michele Johnson
  • Julia Anne O'Sullivan
  • Samantha Rae Rubino
  • Jessica Rose Simonetti
  • Abisha Vijayashanthar
  • Brian John Whitney

The Harry A. Rachlin Prize in Real Property Law and Real Estate Transactions was established by the family of Harry A. Rachlin, Class of 1926, who during his lengthy and renowned career was a leading authority regarding the New York State Lien Law. Mr. Rachlin served as a lecturer and maintained an ongoing interest in the welfare of University at Buffalo School of Law students. The prize is awarded to members of the graduating class who exhibit excellence in research, clinical and academic performance in the areas of real property law, housing, housing finance and real estate transactions as determined by the faculty and administration of the School of Law.

  • Brandon Minh Le
  • Serena Evelyn Mott

Judge William J. Regan Award is given to the member of the graduating class who has demonstrated the greatest proficiency in estates and surrogate’s law, and who is motivated by a strong concern for public service and public welfare. The award is named to honor the memory of Judge William J. Regan, Class of 1938, and Erie County Surrogate from 1963 to 1981. During his long career in practice and on the bench, he served the community with great distinction. This award is supported from a fund donated by friends of Judge Regan.

  • Hannah Rauh

UB Law Alumni Association GOLD Group Award is given to the member of the graduating class who has demonstrated outstanding leadership skills in advancing the mission of the School of Law and enhancing its reputation for excellence in legal education.

  • Jonathan David Francisco

Cornelius W. Wickersham, Jr. Award is presented to the member of the graduating class who is the highest ranking student in the field of Constitutional Law. This award is given by the Federal Bar Council. The Federal Bar Council was formed in 1932 after breaking away from the national bar association to protest its refusal to admit minority bar members. Mr. Wickersham Mr. Wickersham was its president from 1955-1957.

  • Sarah Marie Grimaldi

Women Lawyers of Western New York Award is presented to a member of the graduating class who contributes to the advancement of women in our society, promotes the issues and concerns of women in the legal profession, and who has demonstrated academic achievement as well as a commitment to service to others. The recipient is selected by the board of directors of the Women Lawyers of Western New York.

  • Meghan Rose Zickl

Faculty/Staff Awards

The Outstanding Faculty Award is voted on by the graduating class and presented to a faculty member for their outstanding contributions not only to the School of Law, but also the graduating class.

  • Professor Christine Bartholomew

The Outstanding Staff Award is voted on by the graduating class and presented to an administrative staff member for their outstanding contributions not only to the School of Law, but also the graduating class.

  • Amy Hayes Atkinson