For 64 years now, alumni of Miami Law have gathered for a breakfast on Homecoming weekend to swap tales, conjure memories and applaud the achievements of a few of their own.
This year, the gathering was on Oct. 20 in the Robert and Judi Prokop Newman Alumni Center and included a visit and remarks from Donna E. Shalala, President of the University of Miami.
"Our biggest challenge is the affordability of education," President Shalala said. "Many of our students can't get the same kinds of loans that they used to." In a lighter tone, she apologized for the tough parking situation on campus, even after the reconstruction of the law school's main lot. "I wish I could do more about the parking, but parking is the bane of every college president in the United States."
In her remarks, Dean Patricia D. White said the "state of the law school is strong." She said the number of students attending the law school – about 420 – is just the right number, and that "spirits are good." Dean White told the crowd about new faculty members Felix Mormann and Andres Sawicki, and said that the Legal Corps postgraduate program is producing "95 percent full-time employment" for the former students who participate.
Guests were welcomed to the breakfast by Adam Moskowitz, JD '93, the Law Alumni Association's Homecoming Chair. Honorees included William M. Hoeveler, former Senior Judge of the U.S. Federal Court of the Southern District, who received the Thomas Davison III Memorial Service Award. During his time on the bench, Judge Hoeveler gained a reputation as a champion of the Everglades and presided over the trial of deposed Panamanian ruler Manuel Noriega and hearings in the Elian Gonzalez affair.
Judge Stanford Blake, JD '73, of the 11th Judicial Circuit for Miami-Dade, who normally serves as the jovial master of ceremonies for the Morning Spirits breakfast, was instead the recipient of an honor, the Henry Latimer Leadership and Professionalism Award. Judge Blake, who was recognized for exemplary leadership and a career marked by scholarship and service, pretended to be miffed that he was not in charge of the microphone and, after receiving his award, briefly addressed the room without one. He sneered – in jest, naturally – at his replacement as master of ceremonies, the Hon. Federico Moreno, JD '78, chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, and noted that Judge Moreno's own status as an award recipient had not prevented him from playing host.
Judge Moreno was given the M. Minnette Massey Moot Court Award in recognition of "superior dedication" to the Charles C. Papy Jr. Moot Court Board.
The first Miami Law Women Mary E. Doyle Award went to Professor Doyle herself. The former Dean "exemplifies exactly what we're all trying to become," Genevieve Valle, a third-year student who is President of the Miami Law Women student organization, told the crowd. Later, Valle said her group would benefit "from pointing to an outstanding woman in law and honoring her – it reaffirms our mission, sets an example, and creates a meaningful tradition within the organization."
The Joseph H. Bogosian Student Leadership Award was given to third-year student Christine Job, President of the Student Bar Association, by Bogosian himself. Bogosian, JD '92, traveled from Paris for the reunion.
The awards were presented by Devang Desai, JD '03, President of the Law Alumni Association.
The keynote speaker was Larry Jones, JD '76, Chief Operating Officer of FOX Sports. Jones, whose daughter Molly is a 2008 graduate of the University of Miami, explained the intricacies overseeing the day-to-day operation of the network's sports division, and regaled the audience with tales of his dealings with sports figures and other celebrities.