“Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.”

2016 Leadership Awards Ceremony

by Leeja Patel, Esq., Associate Director for Student Leadership & Community Development

It was almost standing-room-only in the ARC when the UC Hastings community gathered to honor the over 85 nominees and 21 recipients of the college’s second annual Leadership Awards Ceremony on April 6th.

Though just a year old, the Ceremony is already on its way to becoming a tradition at UC Hastings. One the entire community seems enthusiastic about, judging from the approximately 200 nomination emails that students, faculty, and staff sent in to the awards committee this year.

UC Hastings’ beloved musical ensemble Legal Notes opened the Ceremony with their a capella rendition of Sara Bareilles’ “King of Anything” …

… which gave Acting Chancellor and Dean David Faigman (who immediately followed them) material for some impromptu jokes at his own expense and set a collegial tone for the event.

Some highlights of the event included a poignant congratulations to all the nominees from Provost and Academic Dean Elizabeth Hillman, who thanked those present for their hard work all year; and the two standing ovations of the night —

First for the maintenance team at UC Hastings, who won the student-voted “Staff of the Year” award that they were presented by student body President Nicholas Lansdown…

And second for Clinical Professor of Law and Associate Dean for Experiential Learning Nancy Stuart, who won the award for Outstanding Contributions to UC Hastings.

The other two Student Choice Awards went to Professor Alina Ball for Faculty of the Year, and Professor James Wagstaffe for Alum of the Year.

Director of Annual Giving Robin Drysdale then presented the Alumni/Advancement awards to Sarah Ayad and the Pilipino American Law Society (PALS) for their exemplary work as an alumni ambassador and for the number of donations raised on behalf of their organization respectively.

Assistant Dean for Student Services Rupa Bhandari began the final awards portion of the Ceremony by quoting Ralph Waldo Emerson — ‘“Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.” To me, the nominees of all these leadership awards have done just that. They have inspired us to be the best versions of ourselves, and to make significant contributions to the UC Hastings community.’ Because the awards are community-driven, instead of listing the accomplishments of the individual winners, she read selected quotes written in about each by their nominators (many of whom were in the audience as well).

In addition to the Leadership Awards, the Rummel Award — which recognizes a 2L with a record of academic achievement and community involvement, as well as the likelihood of continued engagement with the College after graduation — was also awarded at the Ceremony to Hitomi Heap-Baldwin making her the night’s only double-awardee. Other special scholarships and designations the College has to recognize leadership and service were noted in the program as well.

The evening ended with a toast by Assistant Dean Rupa Bhandari, who echoed her initial welcome by thanking all the nominees for their hard work and commitment, and for the ongoing inspiration they provide to the college. She added, “We know that law school is hard, and we appreciate everything you do to make it a better place. Thank you for inspiring us to be the best versions of ourselves! Cheers!”

Please see below for the full list of award recipients and more photos from the event!

The Leadership Awards Ceremony is put on by the Office of Student Services in collaboration with the Alumni and Advancement Office. It was created in 2015 to celebrate the outstanding work of faculty, staff, and students at UC Hastings College of the Law. The awards are given to recognize and honor those individuals who have shown exemplary leadership abilities and demonstrated qualities that this college, and the legal profession, most value and need. All the nominees are recommended by their peers and colleagues in appreciation of the work they have done in a given academic year.