Members of the Class of 2011 at Elon Law welcomed family members and friends to the law school on May 21 to celebrate achievements of the class on the eve of commencement ceremonies. Joined by the faculty and staff of the law school and the leadership of Elon University, members of the class were recognized for pro bono service, leadership in law, and contributions to nonprofit organizations and law offices at regional, national, and international levels.
In welcoming remarks, law school dean George R. Johnson, Jr. expressed appreciation to those who had supported members of the class through their three years of law study.
“They could not have achieved this milestone in their lives without the support of their families, and friends, and loved ones,” Johnson said. “They have been personally transformed to do good in this world. They are going to go out and do really, really wonderful things.”
Johnson provided examples of the contributions to society that members of the Class of 2011 have made, including collective efforts to advise and support the following organizations: the Center for Youth, Family, and Community Partnerships; the City of Greensboro’s University Roundtable; Housing Greensboro Incorporated; Communities in Schools of Greater Greensboro; One Step Further; Hospice and Palliative Care of Greensboro; and the Greensboro Urban Ministry.
Johnson also noted that members of the class had worked in the offices of District Attorneys, state Attorneys General, Legal Aid of North Carolina, and federal courts in other countries among a range of positions through which they contributed to law and justice over the past three years.
“They have not simply been learning the law and developing for themselves, they have been studying the law and learning what they can contribute to make this society a better place,” Johnson said.
Johnson announced the following recipients of the North Carolina Bar Association Pro Bono Certificate of Recognition Awards, given to those completing more than 75 hours of pro bono service: Shinjin Choi, Laura Lee Howell Lucrecia Johnson, Daniel Joyce, Jacqueline Summer Kelley, Mike Sprague, Zachary Unger, and Matthew White.
Lucrecia Johnson received the North Carolina State Bar Student Pro Bono Award. During her time at Elon Law, she volunteered over 385 hours at Legal Aid of North Carolina, the Guilford County Public Defender’s Office, the Elon Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program and the North Carolina Bar Association Young Lawyers Division Wills for Heroes Program. In addition, she served as President of the law school’s chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, helping to organize a Voter Restoration Program for ex-felons at a local prison and “Know Your Rights” sessions in the community.
Barbara Morgenstern, a Greensboro family law attorney and an adjunct professor and preceptor at Elon Law, presented the Outstanding Family Law Student Award to Kelly Routh, noting that Routh started the Family Law Society at the law school, served as that organization’s president since its inception, and earned the top grade in her family law class. The award is sponsored by the North Carolina Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.
Meredith Thompson received the National Association of Women Lawyers Outstanding Law Student Award. Thompson served as president of the Women’s Law Association at Elon Law and as the Moot Court Board’s co-coordinator of the inaugural Billings, Exum & Frye National Moot Court Competition this year, among other service and leadership positions.
Class Gift Chair Tiffany D. Atkins presented the class gift on behalf of Class Gift Committee members Tamaya Davis, Powell Baggett, Ryan Ash and Sarah Warner.
“In the fall of 2008 we were all 1Ls, and during our boot camp experience, professor after professor came to our classroom and said the same three words – three words made famous by the now classic movie Jerry MaGuire – ‘you complete me,’” Atkins said. “We were the class that completed the law school and I for one felt very special about that.”
“Our class after some voting and deliberation decided that our gift would be one that would complete the school,” Atkins continued, “completing the Weaver Lobby by providing additional seating in the form of custom benches which will have a plaque that says ‘Donated by the Class of 2011.’”
Atkins thanked those who donated to the class gift, raising more than $3,000, including students, faculty, staff and administrators.
Elon University President Leo M. Lambert thanked the class for their hard work and devotion to building traditions of academic excellence at the law school.
“It really is when you take a big step back and think about it, a huge and wonderful undertaking to begin a new law school,” Lambert said. “Of course that takes, as we have, a wonderful dean, a strong faculty, a wonderfully supportive staff, but the most important ingredient is hard working students, because it is your work that sets the academic standard of this institution and we are very proud of your contributions to Elon Law.”