Vice Dean Tony Varona (left) with Dean Camille Nelson (right) and 2017 Myers Scholars Vidya Dindiyal, Lucas Novaes, and Victoria Latus.
Vice Dean Tony Varona (left) with Dean Camille Nelson (right) and 2017 Myers Scholars Vidya Dindiyal, Lucas Novaes, and Victoria Latus.

AUWCL Holds 33rd Annual Myers Society Celebration


Three Outstanding Student Scholars Chosen as 2017 Myers Scholars

Oct. 17, 2017

On Oct. 13, American University Washington College of Law celebrated its 33rd annual John Sherman Myers Society dinner in the company of awardees, alumni, and valued donors.

More than 120 members of the extended AUWCL family welcomed new American University President Sylvia M. Burwell as she attended her first Myers Celebration. President Burwell opened the evening and addressed the enthusiastic crowd followed by Dean Camille A. Nelson, who presented remarks on “Continued Momentum: Reflections on a Year Together.” The Honorable Gerald Bruce Lee ’76, SOC/BA ’73 served as emcee for the evening.

VIEW photos from the event.

Interestingly, in their remarks, both President Burwell and Dean Nelson separately chose to quote Washington College of Law founder Ellen Spenser Mussey as she said “The keynote of success is readiness for the opportunity.” A fitting notation for a law school soon to enter its 122nd year.

“Our visionary and entrepreneurial founders could have started anything, but they knew the power of the law,” continued Dean Nelson. “They inspired us to forge ahead in a world where the need for, and role of lawyers has emerged and re-emerged as necessary for us to be who we say we are, as a society, and as a country…And so the combination of the law and the role of WCL as a leader in legal education is powerful.”

Presentation of the Founders Award

Each year, the Founders Award is presented to a member of the AUWCL community whose considerable dedication, service, and generosity have significantly advanced the mission of the law school. This year’s award was presented to Professor Emeritus Anthony C. Morella ’58 and his wife Ambassador Connie Morella CAS/MA ’67.

Anthony C. Morella taught at AUWCL for 44 years and served as University Vice President and General Counsel. During his legal career, he was senior partner in the law firm of Hewes, Morella, Gelband, and Lamberton, PC. Among his noteworthy cases, Morella represented Judge John Sirica when the Watergate tapes case, Nixon v. Sirica (1973), went to the Court of Appeals. Prior to his teaching career, Morella’s experience in the law included work as an attorney on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights conducting investigations of voting purges of black voters in Louisiana.

Connie Morella served as U.S. Ambassador to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris from 2003-2007. She is the first U.S. Ambassador to the OECD ever to have served in the U.S. Congress. From 1987 until 2003 Ambassador Morella represented Maryland’s 8th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives where she developed a national reputation as a leading advocate for women, children, and families as well as a promoter of economic growth through science and technology. Before her election to the U.S. Congress, Ambassador Morella served in the Maryland General Assembly for eight years. Prior to elective office, Morella was a professor of English at Montgomery College, Rockville, Md.

Honoring our 2017 Myers Scholars

The Myers Scholarship is a prestigious scholarship presented to students annually at the Myers Society Celebration. At Friday’s dinner three students were presented with the scholarship: Vidya Dindiyal ‘18, Victoria Latus ‘18, and Lucas Novaes ‘18.

The selection committee was comprised of Vice Dean Tony Varona and Professors Amanda Leiter and Llezlie Green Coleman.

“This year’s Myers Scholars exemplify what is so extraordinary about AUWCL students,” said Vice Dean Varona, who chaired the selection committee. “Vidya, Victoria, and Lucas have overcome so many difficulties and barriers to excel as academically outstanding and community-minded students. Our selection committee was unanimous in our view that these three scholars are exemplars of the diligence, resilience, and promise that the John Sherman and Alvinia Reckman Myers Foundation sought to reward in founding this important scholarship program.”

Vidya Dindiyal

Vidya Dindiyal

Originally of Guyanese descent, Vidya Dindiyal is a 3L in the top 5% of her class. She currently is a student attorney for the International Human Rights Law Clinic, and has served as a dean's fellow for the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Vidya has worked with Prof. Brenda Smith on the National Project on Addressing Prison Rape. She served as a legal intern in the Civil Rights Division of the US Department of Justice and was a Sorensen Center for International Peace and Justice Fellow for the ACLU's Human Rights Program. Before coming to AUWCL, Vidya was a Program Associate for the Ford Foundation's Gender, Sexuality and Reproductive Justice Program. Writing in her application about how an AUWCL education has helped mold her, Vidya reflected: “I am now equipped with the lenses that enable me to understand my life and the lives of those around me -- how they are shaped and inherited by unjust systems.”

Victoria Latus

Victoria Latus

Hailing from the south side of Chicago, Victoria Latus is a 3L with grades near the top of her class. She is a member of the senior staff of the American University Law Review and was the winner of the Certificate of Excellence for outstanding performance in research and citation in her 1L Legal Rhetoric course. She received the highest grade designation for Immigration Law and First Amendment, is co-founder and alumni outreach coordinator for the Family Law Society, serves as a mentor for the Women’s Law Association, is a Legal Rhetoric dean’s fellow/teaching assistant, and is a research assistant to Professor Candace Kovacic-Fleischer. Victoria is serving as a student attorney for the Immigrant Justice Clinic and has served as a student attorney at the Fairfax County Public Defender’s office. In her application, Victoria reflected on her decision to enroll in our law school: “After college, I chose to go to WCL because I connected with the school’s outlook toward serving the public interest and have worked to take every opportunity WCL has to offer to prepare me to be an excellent advocate.”

Lucas Vovaes

Lucas Novaes

Lucas is a 3L with a GPA that places him among the top students in his class. He is a senior staff member and published author with the American University Law Review, and vice president of the Moot Court Honor Society. He received the highest grade designations in both Legal Rhetoric and Torts and is a contributing member of both the Latino/a Law Students Association and Lambda Law Society of AUWCL. A native of Brazil, Lucas immigrated to the United States at the age of 7. Before joining the AUWCL community, Lucas was a 7th grade math teacher and the lead facilitator for diversity, equity and inclusiveness for Teach for America. In his application, Lucas wrote: “My short time in the classroom was never easy, but it is an experience that I will always cherish and one that has instilled in me the desire to pursue a legal career where I can use the skills and institutional knowledge that I have acquired to assist people who are marginalized and unable to overcome their own barriers.”