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First Annual Parris Awards Recognize Ten Students for Professionalism

"The values of any institution are emphasized by that which is honored."

On Friday, March 27, at an emotional ceremony in the Henry J. and Gloria Caruso Auditorium, Pepperdine School of Law presented the First Annual Parris Awards to ten third-year law students who had exhibited the "highest order of the pillars of professionalism." Recipients were nominated by faculty, staff, and fellow students. 

"I received over 57 pages of written nominations, mostly from students, that express what outstanding 3Ls we have at Pepperdine," says Danny DeWalt, director of the Parris Institute for Professional Formation. "Every one of the nominees was exceptional and deserving."

The 2015 award recipients were as follows:

The Pepperdine Award
Scott Sasser

Excellence in Character
Charlie Walker

Excellence in Leadership
Sarah Gerdes and David Moreshead

Excellence in Courage
Paige Curry

Excellence in Global Justice
Stephanie Brown

Excellence in Public Interest
Joe Spano

Excellence in Dispute Resolution
Amanda Sanchez

Excellence in Service
Stephen White

Excellence in Professionalism
Nora Sassounian

The award ceremony included remarks from Dean Deanell Tacha, Dean Emeritus Ron Phillips, and University President Andy Benton. Los Angeles Deputy City Attorney Capri Maddox (JD '01) spoke about "The Importance of Character in the Practice of Law." 

"Many in the legal profession are talking about professionalism, but not many are institutionalizing it in the way we have," Dean Tacha noted.

In his comments, attorney and Lancaster mayor Rex Parris – whose gift last year launched the Parris Institute – reminded the students in the audience, "You are blessed to attend a school that is not afraid to do things for the first time."

View a Facebook photo album of the event. 

The Parris Institute for Professional Formation is dedicated to the professional development of first-year law students, and provides continual mentoring throughout our students' law school careers. The institute launched in August 2014, serving the class of 2017, and focuses not only on professional development, but also health, personal goals, and ethics. Through the Awards and Student Life Challenge programs, students are incentivized to perform at the highest level, grow as students, and graduate "practice-ready." Learn more about the Parris Institute for Professional Formation