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Thursday, May 4, 2017

Members of Gould community honored on a sunny day in spring

By Anne Bergman

With commencement approaching, USC Gould’s annual awards luncheon provided an opportunity for the law school community to recognize the accomplishments of students, staff and faculty.
 
In all, 10 students, two faculty members and one staff member were honored at the April ceremony held on the steps of the law school.
 
“I look forward to this springtime tradition,” said Dean Andrew Guzman. “The presentation of awards is a wonderful occasion for us to recognize and celebrate a few of the deserving members of our community for their remarkable contributions.” 

Professor Ariela Gross received the William A. Rutter Distinguished Teaching Award. “Ariela fits in wonderfully with

Dean Guzman with the 2017 awardees.
the remarkable list of outstanding teachers who have won it in the past,” Guzman said. “She is described by her students as the ‘ideal 1L professor.’” Guzman noted that one of the students who nominated Gross for the award wrote:  “There are not enough superlatives in the dictionary to describe Professor Gross’ brilliance as a teacher, as a scholar, and as a motivator."
 
The award, named for the 1955 USC Gould alumnus who founded legal publishing company, The Rutter Group was created to honor classroom teaching.  Rutter’s widow Sally, son Paul and step-son Barry attended the ceremony. 
 
Stephanie Rector, president of the Student Bar Association presented the “Outstanding Professor” award to Robert Rasmussen. “This award reflects the terrific rapport Bob has with students as well as his generosity with his time,” said Guzman. “It is impossible to miss the strength of Bob’s relationship to the students he teaches.”
 
Natalie Kouyoumdjian, who teaches legal writing and advocacy, received the Outstanding Adjunct Professor Award. “She's patient, extremely helpful, and genuinely cares about our growth as legal writers," said Rector. 
Prof. Ariela Gross, here with members of the Rutter family, was recognized for her excellence in teaching and scholarship.
 
The law school’s security guard Roberto Martinez was awarded the Outstanding Staff Member award. He celebrated with a little dance that endeared the crowd. 
 
3L Shana Emile was awarded the Miller-Johnson Equal Justice Prize for her commitment to civil and social justice.  Described as “the real deal,” Emilie was recognized for her work with the Post-Conviction Justice Project, and as an extern with the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Human Rights Campaign, as well as for her leadership with Out Law. 
 
Retired Justice Earl Johnson, who was the first recipient of the award when he was on the law school faculty, attended the ceremony. He used the prize money to endow and create
the award for future Gould students. 
 
The Mason C. Brown Award went to Ian Graves for his excellent work with the PCJP, especially his “impressive 
 
ability to connect with clients.” The award, named for trial attorney (and USC Gould alumnus) Mason Brown ’70, was established to recognize a third-year law student who demonstrates a commitment to public interest endeavors and talent for trial work. Brown’s widow Laurie attended the ceremony.
 
Guzman continued the ceremony by announcing this year’s Shattuck Award recipients. The students are nominated by their peers, as well as USC Gould faculty and staff. The following six 3L students were recognized for demonstrating the greatest potential for becoming members of the bar and making significant contributions to the USC Gould community:
Rebecca Berry
Lauren Fishelman
Andrea Hadjiyianni
Alex Kirkpatrick
Timothy Kolesk
Kenneth Oshita
 
 
Two students from the law school’s LLM program –Yifan Chen and Hari Lal– were recognized by the Graduate and International Student program for volunteering for leadership roles and improving the quality of life for students.

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