Touro Law Center Celebrates 33rd Commencement Exercises

Congratulations, class of 2015!

May 20, 2015

Rena Seplowitz, voted best professor by this year’s graduating class, described the varied interests and experiences of the class of 2015 that made them such an exceptional group, and praised their initiative in being the inaugurating class to participate in the New York State Pro Bono Scholars program.

Touro College President Dr. Alan Kadish conferred honorary degrees upon Richard D. Parsons and Hon. Peter King, U.S. Representative for New York's 2nd congressional district. Dean Patricia E. Salkin, J.D., presented eight students and faculty members with awards‌ onstage, among those being the Paul Marks Public Service Award, presented to Professor Leif Rubinstein; the Milton Handler Scholarship Award, presented to Professor Sara Adams-Schoen; and the Excellence in Teaching Award, presented to Professor Fabio Arcila. 

Daniela Giordano and Matthew Landon Zafrin were named this year’s valedictorians, of the full-time and part-time programs, respectively, while Darren Stakey and Jeffrey Gautsche were named salutatorians. Jason W. Prince, who received the 2015 Ronni D. Cohen Class Orator Award, delivered an entertaining student address that earned him a standing ovation from the class. Other students and faculty were honored at an awards ceremony and dessert reception earlier in April.

In the 2015 commencement address, Richard Parsons, former chairman of Time Warner and Citigroup and former advisor to Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, spoke about networking and interdependence as being key factors of success.

“[Before I left for the University of Hawaii] my grandmother…said: ‘Just be the person everyone else roots for.’ If I were to tell you the biggest single factor in the limited success I’ve had, it would be [that advice]: being the person other people wanted to see succeed.”

“We live in a world now that’s enormously complex, highly interconnected, totally global…and almost no one gets anything done in this world by himself or herself. The reality is, the more people you can get who are prepared to lend a shoulder for you to stand on, the more success you’re going to have in life.”

In her valedictory remarks, Ms. Giordano reminded her peers that while “law school taught us to think like lawyers, I hope we don’t forget to think like human beings. I hope we continue to fight for what we believe in, always appreciate those who stand beside us, and grow to be lawyers with honor and integrity.”

Congratulations, graduates and awardees!

Dean Emeritus Howard A. Glickstein Award for Outstanding Leadership and Overall Academic Excellence

David D. Pelaez

Alumni Association Academic Achievement Award

Daniela Giordano – Full-time; Matthew Landon Zafrin – Part-time

American Law Institute Continuing Legal Education - ALI - CLE Scholarship & Leadership Award

Christopher M. Bergold; Daniel Gustav Olsen; Jamie Lee Ruiz

Daniel and Rose Subotnik Distinguished Writing Award for the Best Published or Non-Published Article by a Graduating Student

Alyssa R. Wanser

Suffolk County Bar Association Award for Academic Excellence

Darren Stakey

Clinical Legal Education Association Award

Nicole Antoinette Berkman

LL.M. Outstanding Academic Achievement Award

Beatrice Koncz

Bessie RayGeffner Memorial Award

Michele Schlereth

National Association of Women Lawyers Award

Sidney E. Goldstein

The Shirley & Murray Rubinstein Clinician of the Year Award

Jamie Lee Ruiz

Peter Davis Award for Excellence in the Study of Criminal Justice

Jonathan Francis Murray

ABA/BNA Award for Excellence in Employment Law

Reginald Bien-Aime, Joseph F. Chapman, Adam Scott Eisen, Matthew F. Hromadka, Jeffrey Alexander Kaufman

ABA/BNA Award for Excellence in Health Law

Dana Aronow

ABA/BNA Award for Excellence in Intellectual Property

Edward H. Grimmett, James Louis Lyons, Christopher Miner, Alyssa R. Wanser

American Bankruptcy Institute Medal of Excellence

Jamie Lee Ruiz

Cornelius W. Wickersham, Jr. Award for Excellence in the Study of Constitutional Law

Joseph Angelo Iemma

Brian Lord Award for Public Interest Law

Nicole Antoinette Berkman

Michael Aaron Silver Award

Antwaun Elliott Gavins

New York State Bar Association Law Student Bar Association Achievement Award

Matthew Albert Gray

Elizabeth Gonzalez Book Award

Jeannéa L. Baptiste

White Rose Social Justice Award

Andrew Wentworth Wilson

Martin Schwartz Award for Excellence in Civil Rights

Melissa Kristina Rodriguez

Special Service to the Public & Community

Tricia S. Lindsay, Joseph Anthony Phillipo, Aidan B. Slevin

Exemplary Contributions to the Growth of the Law Center

Antwaun Elliott Gavins, Sidney E. Goldstein, Matthew Albert Gray, Michael L. Henry, David D. Pelaez, Jason W. Prince, Jamie Lee Ruiz

Exemplary Contributions to the Quality of Student Life

Elias Arroyo, Nicole Antoinette Berkman, Katie Betik, Frances L. Bowdre, Christopher M. Bergold, Angela M. Calia, India Dawn Campbell, Saul Carbajal, Jr., Jestina Danielle Collins, Barry Scott Crane, Alyse M. DelleFave, Gina Marie Delustro, Christopher Dor, Melissa Ann Eisenberg, Adam Scott Eisen, Lauren Rose Gallo, Jeffrey C. Gautsche, Jerel Tristan Greenidge, Annmarie J. Hwang, Matthew J.Ingber, Cybele S. Louis, James Louis Lyons, Brandon Maharajh, Alanna Eileen McGovern, Erin McTiernan, Jonathan Francis Murray, Naché Chanell Patoir, Veronica Phillips, Catherine Elizabeth Romano, Krista E. Siederman, Darren Stakey, Jay Sterman, Ashleigh C. Televandos-Ballis, Alyssa R. Wanser, Andrew Wentworth Wilson, Matthew Landon Zafrin

Service to the Bar Award

Paige Danielle Bartholomew, Robert P. Manetta

Adjunct Professor of the Year

Anne Oh

In Recognition of Devoted Service to the Ideals and Purpose of Legal Education

Professor Rena Seplowitz