The Rutgers School of Law–Newark Alumni Association held its annual Alumni Recognition Gala at the Maplewood Country Club on October 24 and recognized three alumni with the Distinguished Alumni Award and the Fannie Bear Besser Award for Public Service. The Alumni Association also awarded two student scholarships at the event.
More than 235 people attended this year's sold-out gala.
Alumni Association President Melissa Reilly '18, along with the evening's emcees Madeline Gayle '21 and Michael Slocum '03, presented former Alumni Association president Omar Bareentto '16 with an award in recognition of his leadership of the association over the past year.
About the honorees
Kimberly Banks MacKay received the Distinguished Alumni Award.
A proud second-generation RU Law-Newark MSP Alumna, Kim followed in the footsteps of her parents, Margot Harper Banks (Ed.D. 1985) and Cecil J. Banks (J.D. 1976), by earning a graduate degree from Rutgers. Today, as a seasoned C-Suite executive, Kim’s career reflects a demonstrated commitment to building inclusive, resilient organizations in dynamic markets. The lessons learned and relationships built from her time at Rutgers have impacted her personal and professional life in profound ways. Kim deeply values the opportunity to mentor and pay it forward. Known for her keen understanding of performance drivers and the development of innovative methods to deliver business results, leveraging the power of diversity is one of the most powerful tools in Kim’s arsenal. A career-long “lift as you climb” commitment to developing women and talent from under-represented populations, Kim’s mentoring and sponsorship has made a lasting impact at every organization with which she has been affiliated – and countless others with which she has not.
Kim currently serves as the SVP, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of West Pharmaceutical Services, Inc. (NYSE:WST), the leading global provider of containment and delivery systems for injectable medicines. Supporting 11,000 employees, 25 manufacturing sites and operations in 40 countries, Kim advises the Board of Directors and Senior Management, as well as oversees all aspects of the Legal, Compliance, Data Integrity, Regulatory, ESG, Enterprise Risk, and Safety functions. Kim is the first woman and first African American to hold this position at West. Proudly, one of her first-year actions was to hire two Rutgers interns into the West law department, continuing a commitment to the next generation of Rutgers lawyers she began while at Novartis.
Prior to West, Kim served as SVP, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of The Segal Group, Inc., one of the largest privately held professional services firms specializing in employee benefits consulting, investment management and insurance. Prior to Segal, Kim served for 15+ years in roles of increasing responsibility at Novartis, including Head-U.S. Legal for Novartis Business Services, Deputy Compliance Officer for Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation and Lead Legal Counsel for a large business unit. Before Novartis, Kim practiced securities law at MetLife, Lucent Technologies and Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy, held a Federal clerkship and spent several years in commercial banking. Kim acknowledges and appreciates that both her Federal clerkship and her first in-house job can be traced directly back to relationships associated with Rutgers
A former President of the Rutgers Law School Alumni Association, Kim remains very engaged in civic and professional endeavors. Kim currently sits on the Compliance and Audit Committee of the Board of Directors of Bayada Health Care, a privately held firm and one of the largest home health care organizations with 38,000 employees in 24 US states and 8 countries. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Community Foundation of NJ (Executive Committee) and is a former member of the Board of Trustees of Rutgers University, the Board of Directors of the Rutgers University Foundation, the Essex County Court Appointed Special Advocate, and the NJ Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel. Kim was also selected by the Supreme Court of New Jersey Office of Attorney Ethics to serve on the District V-B Ethics Committee. Kim is also a founding member of the Greater Essex County Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. and an active member of the North Jersey Chapter of the Links, Inc.
Kim was recently named as one of Savoy’s 2022 “Most Influential Black Executives In Corporate America”, received the 2019 Garden State Bar’s “Roger M. Yancy Award”, and was selected as the NJ Biz 2017 “General Counsel of the Year – Public Company”. In 2017, she was also named by Blackdoctor.org as one of the “Top Blacks in Healthcare” and received the CUP “Catalyst Award” for Law. Kim is the recipient of the YWCA “Tribute to Women and Industry Award” and the “Trailblazer Award” from the Association of Black Women Lawyers of NJ.
Kim earned her A.B. in Economics from Princeton University and her J.D. from Rutgers University School of Law - Newark. She is married to Craig MacKay and has two adult children.
Peter J. Torcicollo received the Distinguished Alumni Award.
Just out of high school, Peter was a stagehand and then a lighting technician, working for a renowned music industry producer in the area ─ a gig that led to many memorable experiences, including working on tour with The Grateful Dead (his favorite band) in the mid-80s ─ and later building sets for off-Broadway productions. At age 25, with his first child on the way, he began his undergraduate studies at Bucknell University, while further developing his skills in construction during winter and summer breaks. After graduating cum laude with a degree in International Relations, and wanting to pursue a path that would allow him to have a positive impact, he started his education at Rutgers School of Law, instantly connecting with and motivated by his professors ─ particularly Alan Hyde, now Distinguished Professor of Law and Sidney Reitman Scholar, and George Thomas, now Board of Governors Professor of Law and Judge Waugh Distinguished Scholar.
Following his graduation from Rutgers in 1994, and with two young children at the time, Peter joined Gibbons as an associate, with a focus on construction law and litigation at a partner’s recommendation. Soon after starting with the firm, he accepted the opportunity to serve as a judicial clerk to the Honorable Alfred J. Lechner, Jr., on the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. He then returned to Gibbons, where he has stayed ever since and risen up the ranks.
In addition to being promoted to Director in Gibbons’s Business & Commercial Litigation Group in 2000, Peter served as the Group’s Co-Chair for many years and, in 2010, became a member of the firm’s Executive Committee. He also built and directed Gibbons’s Construction Litigation practice, recognized by the Chambers USA Guide to America’s Leading Lawyers for Business in the Construction Law category and by U.S. News Best Lawyers® Best Law Firms in its top two national tiers. And for more than 15 years, he chaired Gibbons’s Professional Development Committee, directing the firm’s recruitment, associate retention, and lateral hiring practices, which have proven instrumental in advancing the firm’s focus on hiring attorneys who completed judicial clerkships and, in turn, providing valuable insight into the operations of judges and courts in the federal and state systems.
When the opportunity came to lead the firm as Managing Director, Peter was honored to take the helm. In this role, he has demonstrated his leadership acumen and vision through his oversight of the firm’s professional and administrative operations, execution of the Executive Committee’s directives, and development and implementation of a Strategic Plan, which he commissioned immediately on becoming Managing Director. Chief among Peter’s objectives is to nurture and ensure the nearly century-old firm’s longevity for future generations of Gibbons attorneys.
Alongside his Managing Director duties, Peter maintains a broad-based commercial litigation practice with substantial trial experience in various forums, including federal courts, New Jersey and New York state courts, and both AAA and private-party arbitration. He has represented owners, developers, contractors, and sub-contractors and handled a range of construction-related disputes, including contract claims and claims relating to change orders, construction defects, scheduling and delay, construction liens, public bidding, and design, as well as labor-related claims in the construction sector. Additionally, he has served on government, legal, and bar associations and committees, is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, Construction Lawyers Society of America, and American Bar Foundation, and was inducted into the Litigation Counsel of America in 2007.
A native of Westfield, New Jersey, Peter is an avid fisherman and musician. He credits his wife, Paula, with “being a great partner and making it easy” for him to pursue his legal career while also being present for their family. He is the proud father to son and daughter, Ryan and Jamie, and happy grandfather of two: Willow and Gray. Peter has led what he describes as a “rich and rewarding life” ─ due in no small part to his years at Rutgers Law School, where he had experiences that informed his professional path and forged friendships that continue to this day.
Hon. Renée Marie Bumb received the Fannie Bear Besser Award for Public Service.
Judge Bumb was confirmed by the Senate (89-0) and appointed by President George W, Bush in 2006. She currently serves as Chief Judge of the District of New Jersey. Prior to her appointment, Judge Bumb was the Attorney-in-Charge of the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey. She oversaw federal prosecutions in southern New Jersey ranging from public corruption, white collar fraud and narcotics violations. Before joining the United States Attorney’s Office, she was an associate at the law firm, Riker, Danzig, Scherer, Hyland & Perretti, LLC. She earned her undergraduate degree at The Ohio State University and her Master’s Degree at the University of Chicago. She graduated with honors from the Rutgers School of Law -Newark where she served as Editor-in-Chief of the Rutgers Law Review. She is a member of the Judicial Conference of the United States. She serves on several committees, including the Committee on the Administration of the Bankruptcy System and the Third Circuit’s Committee on Model Civil Jury Instructions. She and her husband, the Hon. Kevin T. Smith, J.S.C., have three children.