Belema Idoniboye, J.D. ’15 received the George Wythe Award at the Law School's Diploma Ceremony on May 17. The award is named in honor of George Wythe -William & Mary's and the nation's first professor of law - and is given each year to a graduating student in recognition of his or her outstanding and selfless service.
Law School Dean Davison M. Douglas presented the award and told the audience that Idoniboye had been a "driving force" in a broad range of school activities, particularly through his work with the Black Law Students Association (BLSA).
During his three years in BLSA, Idoniboye helped with BLSA's Law Day program for prospective students, participated in its Community Service initiatives, including the Thanksgiving Food Basket Drive, and, as a 3L, chaired the symposium committee that established BLSA's L. Douglas Wilder Speaker Series. In that role, Douglas said, Idoniboye also planned a major town hall on race, law, and current events featuring notable scholars from across the country. Idoniboye, he added, has become "legendary for his organizational abilities." The dean said that one scholar, who had participated in more than 100 conferences over her career, said the town hall was "the single best-organized, student-run conference" she had ever attended.
During the Class of 2015 Awards Ceremony, held on the eve of graduation, Idoniboye received a Dean's Certificate for outstanding service and was recognized as a Community Servant for his hours of pro bono legal and volunteer service to the local community. In addition to his work with BLSA, he was Notes Editor for the William & Mary Journal of Women and the Law, Bushrod Research Justice for the Moot Court Team, and a member of the George Wythe Society for Citizen Lawyers.
Idoniboye majored in political science and communications studies at the University of Iowa. In addition to his law degree, he holds a master's degree in public policy from George Mason University. Before beginning his law degree, he worked as a special assistant to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki.
Thomas Jefferson founded William & Mary Law School in 1779 to train leaders for the new nation. Now in its third century, America's oldest law school continues its historic mission of educating citizen lawyers who are prepared both to lead and to serve.