Sarah G. Landres '08 and Megan Tumi '08 received the Thurgood Marshall Award for distinguished pro bono work during the Law School's graduation ceremony on May 11. The award goes to a member, or members, of the graduating class who exhibit the ideals of distinguished public service exemplified by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall (1908-1993).
In her remarks, interim Dean Lynda Butler quoted one of Landres's nominators who wrote that she "personifies public service." The dean enumerated the wide range of her endeavors, among them, for example: chair of the Public Service Fund's Date Auction, co-founder of the William & Mary chapter of the Student Hurricane Network and liaison to the national organization; participant in Student Legal Services; and election monitor with Virginia Promote the Vote. Under Landres's leadership PSF's Date Auction raised the most money in the event's history. She also played a lead role in organizing a service trip to New Orleans during spring break. It was Landres, the dean told the audience, who led the Law School's effort to support the Virginia Tech community in the wake of the tragedy there. Landres, Butler said, "seems to have public service as her destiny."
Tumi served as president of the Black Law Students Association and Butler noted that under her leadership an organization renown for service reached new heights. "I've always been impressed with the BLSA's leadership," the Dean told the audience, "but I knew something special was happening because of its increased activities not only outside the Law School but within." Butler cited the BLSA's numerous community service projects, among them, for example, increasing awareness and assistance for the people of Darfur and raising money for a civil rights memorial in Richmond. The burgeoning list of BLSA-sponsored activities within the Law School, she said, included, for example, career workshops and information sessions on outlining. Tumi's "heart and passion truly lie in bettering William & Mary through her dedicated service and leadership," wrote one of her nominators. "I can think of no one more humble nor more deserving."