Honoring Excellence: AUWCL's Legends and Leaders Awards Dinner 2024

Celebrating Outstanding Alumni Achievement and 125 Years of Legal Legacy

Dean Roger A. Fairfax, Jr. with Gold Award winner Ebunola Aniyikaiye '17, and 2024 Distinguished Alum Award winner Kathy Boockvar '93

Alumni, faculty, and distinguished guests gathered at the American University Washington College of Law (AUWCL) for the highly anticipated Legends and Leaders Awards Dinner, honoring the exceptional achievements of its alumni. This year's event held special significance as it coincided with AUWCL's 125th anniversary, marking a momentous occasion in the institution's rich history. Three outstanding alumni, Ebunola Aniyikaiye '17, Kathy Boockvar '93, and Nan Shuker '69, were celebrated for their remarkable contributions, which have not only impacted the AUWCL community but also extended into the broader legal profession and beyond.

"We are deeply grateful to all of you who have come here this evening to celebrate our 2024 AUWCL alumni awardees and to honor their incredible achievements and contributions to our community," Dean Roger Fairfax said in his opening remarks. "Congratulations to all of our award recipients! We’re incredibly proud of Ebunola, Kathy, and Nan, as well as the entire alumni community here at AUWCL."

The first accolade of the evening, the Outstanding Graduate of the Last Decade Award (GOLD Award), was presented to Ebunola Aniyikaiye, a shining exemplar of professional excellence and dedication to service. Ebunola's path from student to Assistant General Counsel & Senior Director of Policy & Regulatory Affairs at Homeward is a testament to her unwavering commitment to advancing the field of health law and empowering future legal professionals.

Ebunola Aniyikaiye '17

"One of the main reasons I came to WCL was to pursue public interest," Aniyikaiye said. "I really wanted to be a health care lawyer. That was the goal. And I knew, after meeting some of the professors, that this was the institution for me."

Aniyikaiye continued by touting the extraordinary support of the AUWCL community, noting that in every instance where she turned to a professor, alum, or even peer student, the support and collaboration were unmatched.

"One of the tenets I live by is 'to whom much is given, much is required.' So I knew that upon graduation, anytime a student reached out, or anytime the university needed anything, I would provide the same sort of community and environment that let me thrive," she said. "I'm super honored and super humbled to win this award because quite frankly, I was just being a good community member of the AUWCL community."

Kathy Boockvar received the 2024 Distinguished Alumni Award. From her tenure as Secretary of State of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to her pivotal roles in election modernization and cybersecurity, Boockvar's illustrious career embodies the spirit of service and leadership instilled by AUWCL.  

"Throughout her remarkable career spanning over two decades, Kathy has exemplified unparalleled dedication, leadership, and expertise in the realms of election security, democracy, government administration, and nonprofit management," said AUWCL Professor Steve Wermiel who introduced Boockvar. "Her impactful contributions have left an indelible mark on our nation's electoral processes and the fabric of our democracy."

Boockvar expressed profound gratitude to AUWCL for the honor bestowed upon her, reflecting on her transformative journey shaped by the institution.

"Many thanks to WCL for this honor, it means so much," she said. "WCL

Kathy Boockvar '93

played a significant role in helping me establish a foundation for whatever I wanted to do going forward, and I will always be thankful.  The incredible opportunities I had as a law student here not only helped me think about the wide range of directions I could go but also helped forge the foundation for any of those paths."

Although Judge Nan Shuker could not attend, her legacy as the recipient of this year's Lifetime Philanthropy Award reverberated throughout the evening, commemorating her dedication to fostering the development of future legal leaders.

"Judge Shuker's dedicated commitment to making a positive impact on the world around her is truly inspiring," said Fairfax. "Through her tireless efforts and unwavering dedication, she has embodied the spirit of generosity and compassion, touching the lives of countless individuals and communities."

The Honorable Judge Reggie B. Walton '74 offered closing remarks expressing gratitude to Dean Fairfax for his exemplary leadership. Judge Walton's heartfelt words underscored the transformative impact of events like the Legends and Leaders Awards Dinner.

"Events like these, investing in our great alumni base, and supporting our students is a testament to Dean Fairfax's visionary leadership," he said.

The Honorable Judge Reggie B. Walton '74 presented Dean Fairfax with a memento from the alumni community as a token of appreciation for his transformative leadership

In a poignant moment, Judge Walton presented Fairfax with a memento from the alumni community as a token of appreciation for his transformative leadership.

"Dean Fairfax, as you embark on your next chapter at Howard, please know that you will always have a home here. Don't be a stranger," Judge Walton concluded, echoing the sentiments of gratitude and admiration felt by all in attendance.

Learn more about Legends and Leaders, including past winners here.

~Story by Keith Pierce  Photos by Amy Hart - see more here.