Dean Melanie Leslie '91 hosted a special in-person breakfast to celebrate the generosity of scholarship donors and the accomplishments of student recipients at Cardozo on March 25. Students and donors spoke about the impact of scholarships on their careers and on the Law School, as well as the value and responsibility of supporting the next generation of Cardozo students. Dean Leslie announced the recipient of the Mark Whitlock Scholarship Fund award, which went to 3L Grayson Moronta.
Rachel McNassor, Associate VP of Advancement at Yeshiva University and Associate Dean of Advancement for Cardozo, welcomed guests to what is expected to become a yearly celebration.
“We’re so glad that you’re here and so grateful to those who support our scholarship initiatives,” she opened. “This will be an annual celebration of our donors and a meaningful opportunity for you to see the value of your contributions by hearing directly from our students.”
McNassor introduced Dean Leslie who gave a special thank you to donors who participated in the recent “$100,000 Over 10 Years” scholarship campaign and those who helped jumpstart Cardozo’s Center for Real Estate Law & Policy through philanthropy.
Dean Leslie led a toast to all of Cardozo’s supporters: “You are what’s helping us to make this school even greater, to enhance the educational experience that we provide for our students and to make it all possible so that students from all backgrounds can afford a world-class legal education.”
She introduced 3L DaWuan Norwood, who spoke about what his time at Cardozo has meant to him and how his scholarship has impacted his experience at law school. “I took a chance on Cardozo and Cardozo took a chance on me,” he said. “And it has definitely paid off.”
Norwood is the Editor-in-Chief of the Moot Court Honor Society and the Upperclassmen Liaison for the Black Asian Latino Law Students Association (BALLSA). During his time at Cardozo, he has interned at the ACLU, the Office of the New York State Attorney General, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the NAACP.
“I have been able to do things that I would not have ever imagined being possible,” he shared. “From the internships that I have worked to the support that I have had from faculty, staff and my fellow students.” Upon graduating this spring, Norwood will go on to work at the Campaign Legal Center as a Voting Rights Fellow.
Dean Leslie introduced Kenneth Rosen ’79, Partner in Bankruptcy and Restructuring at Lowenstein Sandler LLP, inaugural member of Cardozo’s first graduating class and one of the Law School’s distinguished “100,000 Over 10 Years” campaign donors.
Rosen spoke about his interest in philanthropy, especially scholarship funds he and his wife have established for students at Cardozo. He said they feel incredibly privileged for their parents’ ability to pay their school tuition and that this was something each of their grandparents could never have imagined. Rosen’s grandfather was a Russian immigrant to New York who worked as a pants presser in East New York.
“Our hope is that the people we are able to help will do the same thing for the generations that follow,” he said. “We’re hoping for a snowball effect.”
Dean Leslie returned to the podium to introduce the winner of the Mark Whitlock Scholarship Fund award. The Whitlock Scholarship was established by the friends and family of Mark Whitlock '10, who passed away from cancer just two weeks before graduating from Cardozo. Mark's family sought to celebrate his joyous spirit and vitality by creating this fund, designed to recognize an outstanding third-year J.D. student who makes efforts to strengthen the life of the Cardozo community through the force of individual effort, energy, spirit and initiative. Each year, members of the 3L class nominate their peers.
“He was a wonderful, vibrant person,” said Dean Leslie. “Someone who was magnetic and drew people to him.”
Dean Leslie invited Mark’s sister, Sarah Whitlock, to join her on stage as she welcomed this year’s recipient, Grayson Moronta.
Moronta is Chair of the Equity and Inclusion Committee at Cardozo Law Review, a Senior Teaching Assistant with the Legal Writing Program, a Beatrice Potter Scholarship recipient and President of the Labor and Employment Law Society.
“I couldn’t think of a better person to carry on Mark’s memory,” said Dean Leslie.