Pro Bono Service Recognition Dinner 2018
By Jordan Andrews C’20
On April 18, members of Penn Law’s public interest community came together to recognize exemplary service by students and pro bono project supervisors. This annual recognition dinner kicked off with welcoming remarks by Emily Sutcliffe, Director of Student Public Service Initiatives & Associate Director of the Toll Public Interest Center. After thanking the students for their passion for service and the supervisors for lending their expertise to pro bono projects, Emily welcomed Dean Ruger, who reaffirmed Penn Law’s commitment to pro bono work and excellence.
The first award recipient of the night was Professor Kara Finck who received the Beacon Award for her work with the Interdisciplinary Child Advocacy Clinic and her overall passion for mentoring students in pro bono work. Professor Finck reminded the audience of what it truly means to be a beacon: a signal of change, a warning to opponents, and a guide for the advancement of advocacy work.
The Toll Public Interest Center also recognized three graduating students who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to pro bono leadership. The honored students were Oluwaseun (“Shay”) Familoni L’18, Devin Troy L’18, and Sara Lynch L’18. Each of the three women addressed the crowd, sharing lessons they had learned through pro bono work at Penn Law. A number of student volunteers also received awards for outstanding work in their respective pro bono projects. (A full list can be found here.)
Additional recognition went to supervisors whose unparalleled dedication enriched volunteers’ pro bono experiences. Sheila Hughes and Mike LiPuma C’90 L’94 were honored for their work with the Veterans Law Project and Penn Law Advocates for the Homeless, respectively.
The end of the night featured a dessert buffet and the coveted TPIC prize wheel, which issued candy, mugs, and other giveaways to attendees. Amid the prizes and laughter, the evening was a reminder of the strength of Penn Law’s Pro Bono Program and its community partnerships which converge to ensure meaningful service in West Philadelphia and beyond.