Dean’s Desk: Graduating class of 2018 provides opportunity to reflect

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deans-desk-parrishOn May 5, our faculty, staff, friends and family will gather in Indiana University’s beautiful auditorium to celebrate the IU Maurer School of Law Class of 2018. Presiding at our commencement ceremony is a privilege, and our graduates will go on to do great things. I look forward to having them return to the school to hear of their continued success.

As we celebrate the achievements of this year’s graduating class and look forward to the future, we also look back and celebrate the many accomplishments of those graduates who came before them. We recognize alumni achievements informally all year long through social media and our alumni publications, and formally through two prestigious awards: the Academy of Law Alumni Fellows and the Distinguished Service Award.

The Academy of Law Alumni Fellows is the highest honor the law school bestows upon its graduates. Established in 1985, the Academy recognizes alumni who have distinguished themselves in their careers through personal achievements and dedication to the highest standards of the profession. Just a few weeks ago, we inducted this year’s laureates, all of whom have had tremendous careers of which we are proud. Their names and portraits will be added to our Academy alongside giants of an earlier time, including Birch Bayh, ’60, Harriet Bouslog Sawyer, ’36, Hoagy Carmichael, ’26, Samuel Dargan, 1909, John Kimberling, ’50, Hon. Sherman Minton, 1915, Tamar Althouse Scholz, 1892, Walter Treanor, ’22, Wendell Willkie, 1916, and many others.

Mary Nold Larimore, ’80, is a senior partner at Ice Miller LLP in Indianapolis, where she has practiced since graduation. She is a trial attorney with extensive experience in multi-district and general commercial litigation. Mary has been a trailblazer for women in her profession. She is the first woman from the State of Indiana to be inducted as a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and the first woman to serve as litigation director at Ice Miller. Her pro bono work has included representation of student-athletes and their parents relating to their eligibility under Indiana High School Athletic Association rules. Mary has also been a valuable resource to the law school, having served on our Board of Visitors since 1999.

Jane E. Raley, ’82, had a lifelong compassion for people and a passion for justice that led her to a career of ensuring that innocent people who were behind bars had their day in court. She spent most of her career at the Illinois Office of the State Appellate Defender, representing hundreds of indigent felony defendants on appeal in state and federal courts. In 2000, Jane brought her years of experience to the classroom, joining the Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law’s Bluhm Legal Clinic as co-director of its Center on Wrongful Convictions. She trained and supervised law students in the representation of clients in federal and state courts who claimed actual innocence of serious crimes. Jane continued in that role until her untimely death in 2014.

Denice M. Torres, ’84, was inducted for her leadership in various roles at Eli Lilly & Company and at Johnson & Johnson, where she was recognized as a highly successful and inspiring leader with expertise in turnarounds and transformation. She served as president of several J&J companies and chief strategy and business transformation officer for the medical device sector, and most recently served as president of McNeil Consumer Healthcare, a J&J subsidiary. Earlier this year, she launched The Ignited Company, a firm that specializes in identifying and igniting strengths and opportunities of individuals and companies. Among other honors, in 2016 Denice was the sole recipient of the prestigious J&J HONOR award for her work in diversity and inclusion. In 2015, she was named the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association Woman of the Year and Working Mother of the Year by J&J and Working Mother.

Yu-Chi (Tony) Wang’s service to the legal profession in his native Taiwan has placed him at the forefront of both emerging technologies and peaceful cross-strait relations with Mainland China. Born in Taipei, Tony was studying for his LLB at National Taiwan University when a professor he respected suggested that he apply to our LLM program. He received his LLM in 1993 and went on to earn the law school’s first doctor of juridical science degree in 1997. From 2008–2016, Tony served in the administration of President Ma Ying-Jeou as his secretary and spokesperson, senior adviser to the National Security Council, and minister of the Mainland Affairs Council. As minister, he was the first cabinet member of Taiwan to lead an official delegation to Mainland China since 1949, when the Chinese civil war separated Mainland China and Taiwan. He was also the first minister of the Mainland Affairs Council to hold official meetings with his Mainland Chinese counterpart. Cross-strait relations between Taiwan and Mainland China during President Ma’s administration were the most peaceful in more than 60 years, in part because of Tony’s efforts. Tony is an inaugural member of the law school’s Global Advisory Board.

Inducting these four outstanding alumni earlier this month was a real honor. It was especially rewarding to see many of our students in attendance for the induction ceremony so that our laureates could share their experiences firsthand. Their achievements are inspiring and serve as a model for what I hope will be future members of the Academy.

While the Academy recognizes alumni with exceptional careers, our Distinguished Service Awards salute those who have distinguished themselves with public service to their communities and the school in ways far exceeding traditional business, professional and civic duties. Through their hard work, passion and accomplishments, these alumni define the law school’s ideals for community service and serve as accomplished role models for our community.

Our most recent DSA recipients span a wide range of community commitments. Jeff Kennedy, ’67, is a retired partner at Kirkland & Ellis in Chicago. We recognized him for his service to the school as a long-term member of the Board of Visitors and to his community, including the Village of Oak Brook and the Diocese of Joliet. Martín Montes, ’95, is also from Chicago, where he is director of regulatory affairs for Commonwealth Edison. Martín is a member of our Law Alumni Board and president of our Latino Alumni Advisory Board. He serves as a mentor to many of our Latinx students and is an active volunteer for the Hispanic National Bar Association and the Legal Aid Society.

Susan Blankenbaker Noyes, ’83, is the founder of Make It Better Media in Wilmette, Illinois, a media company that has flourished under her leadership. We recognized her for her service in furthering the concept of social entrepreneurship and for her leadership of the Make It Better Foundation, which identifies and amplifies the work of outstanding nonprofit organizations. And Courtney Tobin, ’92, is senior vice president and chief compliance officer at Sycamore Advisors, LLC, in Indianapolis and Atlanta. Courtney has brought outstanding alumni leadership to the school, including a term as president of the alumni board, as well as a volunteer commitment on behalf of education and the homeless.

The Distinguished Service Award carries special meaning for our graduating class because it reflects their own commitment to community service. We ask our students to volunteer at least 60 hours of pro bono service during their three years in Bloomington — a daunting task given the many other demands of law school. The Class of 2018 rose to the occasion, volunteering more than 21,000 hours, with a participation rate of more than 50 percent. I am sure that future DSA recipients will come from this year’s graduating class.

As the academic year draws to a close, I would be remiss if I didn’t salute one other important group of alumni: our adjunct faculty. We rely on adjuncts to supplement our courses with subjects that are unique to their areas of expertise. Twenty-five of our alumni taught as adjuncts this year, rounding out our course offerings with everything from Federal Circuit advocacy and patent trial practice to transactional drafting and negotiations. Their expertise has been invaluable, and we are grateful to them.

Congratulations to our distinguished alumni, and to the Class of 2018!•

• Austen L. Parrish is dean and James H. Rudy Professor at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law. Views and opinions expressed are the author’s.

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