November 21, 2017
One of the evening's honorees, was Judge Sue Pai Yang '84 (Ret.), who is pictured here with her family.

Former deans, judges, and Rutgers Law students were among the more than 200 guests who attended the annual Recognition Gala Dinner for the Newark Alumni Association on November 1, 2017

Three outstanding alumni were honored:

Alan M. Cohen ’79, Senior Policy Advisor to the Chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and former advisor to the Executive Office & Former Chief Compliance Officer, Goldman Sachs was given a Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Honoree Alan Cohen '79 with Alumni Association Treasurer Mark Makhail '13.

Jennifer G. Velez ’96, Senior Vice President, Community and Behavioral Health

RWJBarnabas Health and former Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Human Services also was given a Distinguished Alumna Award.

Jennifer Velez '96 with Alumni Association Secretary Joe Linares '14.

Hon. Sue Pai Yang, JWC (Ret.) ’84, Judge, New Jersey Workers' Compensation Court was given the Fannie Bear Besser Award for Public Service

Natasha Payano ’18, a teaching fellow for the Minority Student Program and Managing Intake Coordinator for the Rutgers Law Associates received an alumni student recognition award.

Natasha Payano '18, flanked by Alumni Association President Brian Biglin '11, left, and Mark Makhail '13, right.

Jamie DiNicola ’18 a former Marsha Wenk Fellow, Gender and Sexuality and Policy Fellow and human rights campaign McClearly Law Fellow, received the student Fannie Bear Besser Award.

Jamie DiNicola '18, was honored at the gala.

“We all contribute something special to the legal community,” said Alumni Association President Brian Biglin ‘11. "We encourage all alumni to be involved in the law school, to contribute our talent, time and resources to the law school.”

Both student recipients said Rutgers Law School inspired them. “We will use the law to create social change, to be a champion of social justice.” DiNicola. “The law can be a force for good and change and can be a force for economic equality.”

Yang, who has retired from serving as a judge in the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Court, described her traditional life as a wife and mother prior to going to law school and participating in the Minority Student Program, “MSP admitted me in mid-life and so expanded my life. . . The law school absolutely expanded my horizons.”

Cohen thanked the faculty, staff, and deans who have carried on the legacy of the law school and commented on his own experience, “We were able to engage in important social and legal issues of the time.”

And Velez, said, the law school, “Bestowed upon each of us the opportunity to engage with others and create meaningful dialogue and sustainable change – in big ways and in small ways. Many of us graduated with the hope and the commitment to tackle challenges and to make a difference.” She also praised the MSP Program, which celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2018. “We are proud to be among the nation’s most inclusive and diverse law schools, leading the nation with our renowned Minority Student Program, supporting students with respect to race and ethnicity, diversity of life experiences and life aspirations, or history of socioeconomic or educational disadvantage.”

This year’s recognition dinner was held at the Maplewood Country Club and included a silent auction, which helped raise money for law school scholarships.

Rutgers Law Media Contacts:
Mike Sepanic (Camden); Elizabeth Moore (Newark)

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