Reunion Weekend 2016 Celebrates Accomplished Georgetown Law Graduates

October 25, 2016

Nearly 1400 Georgetown Law alumni and their guests had a terrific time at Reunion Weekend 2016 — catching up with friends, reminiscing about that contracts or torts professor and experiencing the best that Washington, D.C., has to offer.

From a morning Supreme Court tour on Friday, members of the Class of 1966 celebrated their 50th at the always-popular Founder’s Circle Luncheon, remembering a time when the Four Tops topped the charts, McDonough Hall was a dream of the future and manual typewriters were still the best means of cranking out legal briefs.

And if 2016 will ultimately be remembered for honoring women, Reunion Weekend was a great start. At the Founder’s Circle Luncheon, Patricia Slane Voorhees (L’66) recalled her experience as one of the few women students at Georgetown Law (the 2016 entering class, by contrast, consists of 53 percent women).

Other events included a Barrister’s Council speaker series with Tonya Holcomb, vice president and general counsel of Global Litigation at Honeywell International, and a dedication, organized by members of the Class of 1976 and 1977, honoring past members of Georgetown Law’s Campus Ministry — including Sister Mary K. Himens, SSCM, the Law Center’s first female chaplain.

Student Bar Association President Sandor Callahan (L’17) interviewed Malika Saada Saar (L’01), Google’s Public Policy and Government Relations Senior Counsel for Civil and Human Rights. Saada Saar spoke of her work in founding the Human Rights Project for Girls (Rights4Girls), a human rights organization addressing gender-based violence against women and girls in the United States. She also led the effort to shut down Craigslist sex ads.

Her present role in the corporate world, Saada Saar said, still furthers the human rights causes she has fought for since graduating from Georgetown Law.

“I came here to get a law degree in the tradition of Charles Hamilton Houston, committed to what I saw Professor Peter Edelman and his wife Marian Wright Edelman create,” Saada Saar said. “I had no intention of using my law degree to go into the private sector…but I heard a remarkable speech from the CEO of Unilever of how companies can have as much if not more of an impact on human rights than governments or NGOs. And I started to think about what might be possible.”

The Best of Georgetown Law

At the Reunion Gala at the National Building Museum, Beverly Perry (L’81), the senior adviser to D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and a speaker at Reunion Weekend’s Black Law Students Association brunch, was among those honored with a Paul R. Dean Alumni Award. Carl Northrup (L’76), founding member of Telecommunications Law Professionals; Paul Nussbaum (L’71), chairman and CEO of Waramaug Hospitality; and Winston K. Zee (L’81, LL.M.’84), now a professor at KoGuan Law School who spent a long career at Baker & McKenzie, also received Dean Awards.

Kathryn Ruemmler (L’96), now the global co-chair of the White Collar Defense & Investigations Practice and a partner in the Litigation & Trial Department at Latham & Watkins, received this year’s Robert F. Drinan Award for Public Service. Ruemmler served for almost six years in the Obama Administration, first in the Department of Justice and later as counsel to President Obama.

Perry said in a video played at the Gala that the day she got her admissions letter from Georgetown Law “was the happiest day of my life.” Perry was a clerk-typist and secretary at the Department of Justice in the 1970s until she was encouraged to go to Georgetown Law by an alum (the story is told in the upcoming Fall 2016 issue of Georgetown Law magazine).

Dean William M. Treanor noted that the awards are given to graduates who embody “the best of Georgetown Law.” He also announced the formation of a new Beverly Perry Fellowship — a partnership with the District of Columbia that will honor Perry’s legacy of service by bringing recent Georgetown graduates into the D.C. government.

“I have…a number of Georgetown Law graduates who work for me,” said Mayor Bowser, who spoke at the event. “I told my staff recently, let’s get some more. We need young, energetic people with big ideas who want to have some time in public service. The Beverly Perry Fellowship will allow us to partner with Georgetown to hire recent graduates to do their part for our wonderful city.”

Bowser also praised all Georgetown Law alumni, more than 40,000 strong. “We are so proud of your contributions to advancing the law, and so proud that you call Washington, D.C., home…,” she told alums. “Welcome home. Welcome back to D.C.”