School of Law graduates, faculty and students joined leaders from Baltimore's legal and business communities to recognize the accomplishments of outstanding alumni at the Alumni Association's 17th annual Honors Banquet on March 6. In addition to providing an opportunity for reconnecting with friends and networking with fellow graduates, the Honors Banquet is an opportunity for the School of Law to recognize the accomplishments of outstanding alumni.
This year's Distinguished Graduate Award was presented to Congressman Elijah Cummings ´76, who has represented the law school's congressional district since 1996, is a leader in increasing access to health care and education and a staunch protector of the environment. Congressman Cummings is a senior member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. He has worked to hold field hearings of both committees at the law school during the current academic year.
Congressman Cummings began his career of public service in the Maryland House of Delegates, where he succeeded his mentor, the late Lena Lee ´52. He served for sixteen years and became the first African-American in Maryland history to be named Speaker Pro Tem of the General Assembly. Established in 1970, the Distinguished Graduate Award recognizes a law school graduate who has demonstrated service to the community and law school and served as a role model for students and young attorneys.
The Benjamin L. Cardin Public Service Award, established in 1990 to recognize alumni for outstanding public service, was presented to The Honorable Andre Davis ´78, who has served on the U.S. Court for the District of Maryland since 1995. Judge Davis brought to the federal trial bench the experience gained from eight years as a state trial judge, where he served on the Circuit Court for Baltimore City and on the District Court of Maryland for Baltimore City.
Judge Davis has enjoyed a broad-based legal career. He served for a year as a law clerk to United States District Judge Frank A. Kaufman on the United States District Court in Baltimore and for a year as a law clerk to United States Circuit Judge Francis D. Murnaghan, Jr. on the United States Court of Appeals for the fourth Circuit. He also served as an appellate attorney for the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice and as an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Maryland, where he handled both civil and criminal cases.
As a student at the law school, Judge Davis won Best Advocate in the Myerowitz Moot Court, and he chaired the Honor Board. The Faculty awarded him the prestigious Roger Howell Award at graduation. From 1984-1987, he was an assistant professor at the School of Law, where he continues to teach as an adjunct faculty member and serves as a member of the Board of Visitors.
In addition, a special presentation of the Star Award was made to Bernard Manekin ´36 in recognition of his lifetime of contributions to the law school and the greater community. From the 33-acre Charles Center that was the genesis of Baltimore's renaissance in the early 1960s to Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Mr. Manekin either developed or influenced virtually every significant downtown building project for 50 years. In addition, he has served as a leader for a vast array of the city's charitable and cultural institutions, including the Walters Art Gallery, The Associated: Jewish Community Federation and the United Way, among many others.
"The careers of these individuals are remarkable," said Dean Karen Rothenberg. "I always tell our students that it is important to find a way to serve the public, regardless of what career you pursue. The genuine commitment to public service these graduates have exhibited in fields as diverse as politics, the judiciary, and business and development underscores that message."
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