After a year defined by distance, the Catholic Law community was thrilled to welcome graduates, family, and friends back to campus to celebrate Reunion Weekend 2021. A full schedule of events was held October 1-3 to help old friends and classmates reconnect, stay up to date with recent Law School developments, and show support for their law alma mater.
Eleven class years were invited to participate in Reunion 2021: 1966, 1971, 1976, 1981, 1986, 1991, 1996, 2001, 2006, 2011, and 2016.
The weekend began on Friday afternoon with a Memorial Mass for deceased Catholic Law alumni in St. Vincent De Paul Chapel. In the evening, attendees enjoyed a Reunion Kick-Off Event in William J. Byron S. J. Auditorium; immediately followed by the Distinguished Alumni Awards presentation. The presentation honored ten of the year’s most distinguished alumni; whose individual achievements, contributions to their industries and professions, service to their community, and demonstrated loyalty to Catholic Law set them apart. The recipients represent a talented group of people who have contributed significantly to their professions and the communities they serve. Joined by alumni, family, and friends, Dean Stephen Payne announced each of the 2021 recipients. Dean Payne marked the occasion by noting, “It’s my privilege and honor to recognize the 2021 Distinguished Alumni Awards recipients.”
Brothers Anthony P. Ambrosio ’66 and Michael P. Ambrosio ’66 were presented with the William Callyhan Robinson Alumni Award. Agness P. Dover ’81 (in absentia), Alan M. Grimaldi ’71, and Mark A. Reinhardt ’71 were presented with the Columbus School of Law Distinguished Alumni Award. Kerslyn D. Featherstone ’01, David J. Redl ’06, and Theresa A. Werner ’91 received the Distinguished Public Service Award, presented to those who have translated their Catholic Law experience into notable achievements into public service. Finally, Kendra Kosko Isaacson ’06 and James V. Catano ’11 were presented with the Distinguished Recent Alumni Award for alumni who have graduated in the last fifteen years. Each recipient spoke about how proud they have been to represent the Law School and what an important part of each of their lives the Catholic Law community has been.
Saturday’s events began with a State of the Law School address from Dean Payne, during which, he shared his appreciation for the energy, passion, and commitment of Catholic Law’s alumni to the school, adding, “It’s great to have folks back in the building.” The address included a frank discussion of the school’s US News school ranking (Catholic Law is at its highest ranking in the last eight cycles), the Law School’s strategy for supporting a positive trajectory for the school (such as new faculty hiring and upcoming programs), and the role of Catholic tradition in the law. Dean Payne also took questions from those in attendance.
As the day continued, alumni and friends were invited to attend an Alumni Community Law School Picnic on the Law School Lawn. While eating and conversing, guests were treated to a performance by Tortious Tones which features Catholic Law alumni Christian Baron ’16, Michael Dinet ’16, Dan Lechner ’16, Dan O’Connell ’16, Elizabeth Ottman ’17, and Nic Zawarksi ’16.
The afternoon was dedicated to a slate of events celebrating Columbus Community Legal Services (CCLS) and the history of the Law School’s clinic programs. The DuFour Law Library and Louise H. Keelty and James Keelty Jr., Atrium were opened as an exhibit highlighting the history of CCLS. Guests then had the opportunity to attend a panel and discussion with CCLS faculty, staff, and past students before convening in the Atrium for a cocktail reception. Ellen Scully '67, Retired Professor of Law and former Director of the CCLS; Catherine Klein, Professor of Law and Director of CCLS; Stacy Brustin, Professor of Law and Director of the Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Clinic (IRAC); and Paul Kurth '09, Director of the Low Income Taxpayer Clinic, Managing Director of CCLS, and Vice Director of the International Business and Trade Summer Law Program, all participated on the panel.
Saturday evening featured the William Callyhan Robinson Induction Ceremony followed by the presentation of Class Awards to recognize the achievements of the reunion classes. Catholic Law alumni who graduated 40 or more years ago were inducted into the William Callyhan Robinson Society and special recognition of the Class of 1966 and of the Members of the Columbus Society was also made at this time. Co-conveners from the Class of 1981, Joseph Peter Drennan and Barbara Thawley led the induction and presented each of the new members present with an honorary medal.
The Class of 1971 won the Robinson Bowl for the most money raised out of those celebrating 40th, 45th, and 50th anniversaries. The Class of 1986 was awarded the Leahy Bowl for most money raised for a class, not in the Robinson Society. The Class of 2016 won the Alumni Cup for the highest attendance registration. Finally, the Class of 1966 won the Dean's Cup for the highest donation rate of all the classes. Following the presentation, individual class dinners were held for the Classes of 1966-2001, and the Class of 2006, 2011, and 2016 enjoyed a cocktail party at the local Brookland restaurant, Busboys and Poets.
Click here to view photos from the weekend, visit the photo album section of Catholic Law’s Facebook page.