The David Gergen Award for Leadership & Professionalism, bestowed annually at Elon University School of Law’s Commencement, recognizes one student in each graduating class for embodying the highest levels of selfless leadership and service.
An Elon Law graduate in the Class of December 2017 known for having “made service to others a way of life” was honored Saturday at her Commencement ceremony with the school’s most prestigious student award.
Mia Faith Chamberlain received the David Gergen Award for Leadership & Professionalism on December 16, 2017, when she was recognized in front of family, friends and classmates who applauded her contributions to the community and law school.
Students can be nominated for the award by their peers, professors, or staff, and they are selected by a faculty and staff committee based on nominees’ law school activities that represent the twin principles of leadership and professionalism.
The award is named in honor of David Gergen, whose professional life and contributions have embodied the highest levels of selfless leadership and service. Gergen has served as adviser to four United States presidents. He is the director of the Center for Public Leadership and Professor of Public Service at the Harvard Kennedy School, one of the country’s preeminent political commentators, and chair of Elon Law’s Board of Advisors.
“It is paramount to me as a young lawyer to serve my community,” Chamberlain said after receiving the award. “I feel very fortunate to have attended a law school that prides itself on leadership and challenges students to give back locally and at-large for the greater good. It is important to have leading lawyers within our profession and Elon is breaking barriers with our leadership-driven curriculum.”
A Greensboro native and an Elon Law Leadership Fellow, Chamberlain actively represented her law school in various capacities. She served as co-editor for Elon Law’s Journal of Leadership in the Law and as community outreach chair on the Pro Bono Board, coordinating opportunities for classmates to serve meals to those facing homelessness, providing support to the Interactive Resource Center, and working as Elon Law’s liaison to Habitat for Humanity.
Chamberlain also served as president of the Sports and Entertainment Law Society, planning and coordinating two Elon Law Family Nights with the Greensboro Swarm basketball organization. She has held leadership positions as well in the Business Law Society and the Student Bar Association.
In November, Chamberlain was among 10 students from across the country selected for a First Liberty Fellowship in Washington, D.C. The program was presented by the First Liberty Institute, which describes itself as “the nation’s largest legal organization dedicated solely to defending religious liberty for all Americans.”
Chamberlain is a graduate of North Carolina State University and Ragsdale High School in Jamestown, North Carolina. She is exploring possible legal careers in higher education where she hopes to apply her legal knowledge of contracts, licensing, and trademark law to work with a university athletics program.
Visiting Associate Professor Julee Flood presented the award to Chamberlain during a Commencement program that celebrated 111 students in Elon University School of Law’s Class of December 2017.
“In sum,” Flood said when announcing the award, “the breadth and depth of our recipient’s leadership and professionalism is laudable."