Fordham’s Black Law Students Association (BLSA) held its 45th Annual Ruth Whitehead Whaley Dinner on March 24 at The Rooftop at Edison Ballroom. Students, alumni, faculty, and staff from the Law School as well as distinguished guests celebrated 50 years of contributions and trailblazers from the student organization.
This year’s honorees included:
- Bryna Beckler-Knoll, director of career planning & diversity in the Law School’s Career Planning Center, and Jennifer Haastrup, program manager for diversity, equity and inclusion at the Law School, who each received the Staff Member of the Year Award
- Professor Paolo Galizzi, who received the Faculty Member of the Year Award
- Brenda Gill ’95, founder of the Fordham Law Alumni Attorneys of Color (AAC) affinity group, who received the Ruth Whitehead Whaley Alumni Award
- Jamel Gross-Cassel ’23, who received the Student of the Year Award
- Amira Kingori ’23, who received the Drew Valentine Award
- Olivia Valentine ’74, founder of BLSA, who received the Lifetime Achievement Award
“The vision of the AAC is not mine but that of our ancestors, our colleagues, our friends, and ourselves. I was no more than the pilot that helped the vision take flight,” said Gill upon receiving the Ruth Whitehead Whaley Alumni Award.
Accepting the Ruth Whitehead Whaley Lifetime Achievement Award, Valentine shared, “The Black American Law Students Association (BALSA) informed my development as a community leader and attorney. I felt that I was part of something important and momentous, and the idealism that pushed our formation of BALSA has never left me.”
View photos from the event: