Melodie Menzer is the 2013 recipient of Elon University School of Law’s highest honor for a graduating student, the David Gergen Award for Leadership and Professionalism.
Elon Law Professor Michael Rich presented the award at Commencement Exercises for the Class of 2013, held May 25 Under the Oaks at Elon University. Rich delivered the following statement, recognizing Menzer for outstanding contributions to the law school and to the larger community:
“The David Gergen Award for Leadership & Professionalism recognizes a member of the law school graduating class whose activities represent those twin principles at the core of Elon Law’s educational mission. This award is named for political commentator, former Presidential advisor, and Chair of Elon’s Law School Advisory Board, David Gergen.
“Nominees of this year’s recipient emphasized her dedication to leadership within the law school and service to the broader community while celebrating her as an inspiration to her fellow students. These characteristics, along with her academic excellence make her an outstanding candidate for the Gergen Award.
“Within the law school, she was a founding member of the Pro Bono Board, served in leadership positions in Delta Theta Phi and the Tax Law Interest Group, and acted as a case manager in the Innocence Project.
“But it is in her service to the community outside of the law school that this recipient really stands out. She served clients and trained other participants in the Tax Counseling for the Elderly and Volunteer Income Tax Assistance programs. She participated in the Wills Drafting Clinic. She worked tirelessly to initiate and coordinate the Certificate of Relief Program through the Interactive Resource Center, which helps clients receive relief from some of the collateral consequences of criminal convictions, while at the same providing students with valuable in-court experience.
“And her community service extends beyond the law. She volunteers to teach GED students. She builds homes with Habitat for Humanity. She is an active Big Sister in the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program, traveling often to Raleigh to visit her little brother.
“Finally, what stands out to me about this year’s recipient is that even though she gives so much back and maintained an excellent academic record during her career at Elon, you wouldn’t know how hard she works by talking to her. She is funny, unassuming, and modest. She is a leader in that she demonstrates how much of a difference a person can make when they dedicate themselves to the causes that they believe in. It is this quality of her character that makes me confident that she will be an alumnus and leader of whom we can all be proud.
“It is therefore a great pleasure to present, on behalf of the Law School and Elon University, the 2013 David Gergen Award for Leadership & Professionalism to Melodie Menzer.”