Osgoode’s Class of 2009 and Legal & Literary Society give back

There is no course at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School that teaches giving back, although its public interest requirement of 40 hours of pro bono work as a condition of graduation comes closest to capturing its spirit.

It’s a philosophy, however, that the Osgoode Class of 2009 and the law school’s 2008-2009 Legal & Literary Society have embraced wholeheartedly with their support for several worthy causes.

Left: The Osgoode Hall Law School Class of 2009

The students’ latest example of giving back was made public March 25 at Osgoode’s toast to the third-year graduating class. 

JP Rodrigues, president of the Legal & Literary Society, announced that the Class of 2009 and the Legal & Literary Society were making a $12,500 donation to Osgoode Hall Law School, to be matched by the Ontario government, for the establishment of a student bursary. The bursary will be given annually to a juris doctor student who has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to Osgoode student life through their participation in clubs, groups or activities. 

“The Class of 2009 voted that their graduation gift be a bursary,” said Rodrigues. “Rather than have this bursary awarded one time only, the executive of Legal & Lit decided to kick in the additional funds to establish a bursary that could last in perpetuity, because it would effectively help deserving Osgoode student leaders each and every year.”

Later the same day, Osgoode held its annual Third-Year Luncheon and Dean Patrick Monahan presented 10 members of the Class of 2009 with Gold Key Awards in recognition of exceptional leadership, commitment and enthusiasm through their participation in various activities of Osgoode and the University. 

The recipients of this year’s Dean’s Gold Key Awards are Alyssa Brierley, Shane D’Souza, Marlon Hylton, Sabrina Kumar, Carole Piovesan, JP Rodrigues, Sidra Sabzwari, Kara Smith, Kevin Tilley and Jonathan Tong.

Above: 2009 Dean’s Gold Key recipients JP Rodrigues (left front), Alyssa Brierley, Sidra Sabzwari, Kara Smith, Osgoode Dean Patrick Monahan (left back), Shane D’Souza, Sabrina Kumar, Marlon Hylton, Carole Piovesan and Jonathan Tong. 

Each of the winners received individual plaques and their names will also be inscribed on a master plaque at the law school, along with the names of previous winners going back to 2004 when the practice of presenting the awards was reinstituted.

Thirty-five excellent nominations were submitted for this year’s Gold Key Awards and it was tough to narrow the field down to only 10 winners, Monahan said. 

Winner Kara Smith captured the sentiment of all of the award recipients when she said, “I feel honoured and touched at the recognition.”  

In his humorous opening remarks to the lunch crowd of third-year students and faculty, Monahan spoke about the history of the Gold Key Awards and offered congratulations to this year’s winners. 

Monahan, who graduated from Osgoode in 1980, also invited Rodrigues to flip a coin to help him decide whether he should convert his bachelor of laws (LLB) degree to a juris doctor (JD) degree. Heads won and Monahan will soon be exchanging his LLB for a JD.

The new degree designation takes effect with the Class of 2009 who will convocate in June and will also apply retroactively to alumni who choose to convert their degree. Details of the exchange process for alumni will be announced in the fall.