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Tulane 34, Student Crest Awards honor four Tulane law graduates

May 15, 2012

Office of the Dean
tel: 504.865.5937

      34
Tulane 34 recipients, left to right, C.J. Chido, Madison Hardee, Ashley Banks and Kimberly Cheeseman. (Photo/K. Cheeseman) 
Four Tulane Law School students are among this year’s recipients of the Tulane 34 Award, one of the most coveted university-wide honors bestowed upon students. Named for the year in which the university was founded, 1834, the award recognizes recipients who have distinguished themselves through exemplary leadership, service, and academic excellence throughout their collegiate life at Tulane

“This impressive showing is a great credit to the Law School and, above all, to the extraordinary individuals who have earned these honors,” said Tulane Law School Dean David Meyer. “We are extremely proud of these outstanding graduates.”

Among the 34 honorees in 2012 are graduating law students Ashley Banks, Kimberly Cheeseman, C.J. Chido, and Madison Hardee.

Furthermore, Cheeseman and Hardee also have won Student Crest Awards, which since 1998 have recognized the efforts and achievements of graduating students in the areas of leadership, scholarship, and community service. Cheeseman will receive the James F. Kilroy Provost’s Award for her combination of exemplary scholarship and student leadership. Hardee will receive the Crest Service and Leadership Award for her exceptional contributions to the New Orleans community through service and leadership.

The following is a brief description of this year’s outstanding law students:

Ashley L. Banks
Recipient of Tulane 34 Award

An extremely well-rounded student who successfully manages to balance the rigors of the law curriculum with her passion for public service and social justice, Ashley Banks is most deserving of this award. Banks, of Clemmons, N.C., is the recipient of the Dean’s Scholarship and the CALI Excellence for the Future Award – Rights of Indigenous Peoples. She has volunteered a remarkable 448 hours of community service, the highest number of all law students graduating in May 2012, in addition to countless hours of donated time within Tulane Law School assisting the Office of Admission with tours for admitted students, speaking at and organizing panels for Sophie B. Wright High School, and representing the law school at numerous events aimed, in part, at recruiting students of color to Tulane. Further, Banks has volunteered significant time with the Tulane University Legal Assistance Program (TULAP) and Southeast Louisiana Legal Services (SLLS). As president of Tulane’s Black Law Students Association (BLSA), Banks worked with the La. Association of Black Women Attorneys, the Greater New Orleans Louis A. Martinet Society, and guided her group’s members as they co-sponsored a series of events marking the 200th Anniversary of the German Slave Coast Uprising. As a representative to the Executive Committee of the Law School, Banks oversaw planning of events for Black History Month and in the wake of the earthquake in Haiti. Further, she has given much of her time to the school’s Law Women student organization and to the Public Interest Law Foundation (PILF).

Kimberly Cheeseman
Recipient of Tulane 34 Award and of the Crest James F. Kilroy Provost’s Award

Kimberly Cheeseman is an outstanding graduating law student in good standing whose hometown is Kingsville, Texas. A remarkable legal scholar, Cheeseman’s stellar academic performance is even more noteworthy when coupled with the fact that she is the editor-in-chief of the prestigious Tulane Law Review (2011 – present). Her academic honors include the CALI Award for highest grade in three of her classes, the Samuel Lang Award in Labor Law and Employment Discrimination, selection as a Senior Fellow for the Legal Research and Writing Program for first year law students (2011-12), selection as the 2L Academic Mentor for Civil Procedure, selection as Tutor for first year students in the “Study Strategy Session Program,” and the award for Top 5 Finish in the Open Moot Court Appellate Competition. Successfully balancing academics with her dedication to service, Cheeseman has completed more than 150 hours of community service with the non-profit Health Law Advocates of Louisiana, which provides free legal representation and assistance to Louisiana families that have health care access issues. She also has served as Community Service Chairperson in the Law Women student organization, worked with the Public Interest Law Foundation (PILF), and volunteered with the Law School Admission Office.

Christopher "C.J." Chido
Recipient of Tulane 34 Award

Christopher Chido is an outstanding legal scholar whose academic success and many honors, which include the Association of Corporate Counsel, Corporate and Business Law Excellence Award, the CALI Excellence for the Future Award, the Tulane Academic Merit Scholarship, the Generoso Pope Foundation Scholarship, and the American College of Bankruptcy, Fifth Circuit Distinguished law Student Award Nomination, make him most deserving of this award. Chido’s desire to help others and give back to the community is evidenced by the 252 hours (the 2nd highest number of volunteer hours in his graduation class) of volunteer service that he has provided to Southeast Louisiana Legal Services (SLLS), helping those who still are struggling to regain their lives in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. His desire to give back began in his hometown of Briarcliff Manor, N.Y., where he tirelessly volunteered to drive an ambulance, without pay. His volunteer experience consisted of 8-hour shifts, 2-3 weekends per month, totaling several hundred hours of service to the community. Other examples of Chido’s dedication to serve the community include his work with Tulane’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program and the Consumer Protection Unit, primarily with indigent members of the New Orleans community who were defrauded by building contractors. A consummate student leader, Chido also is managing editor of the prestigious Tulane Journal of International and Comparative Law.

Madison A. Hardee
Recipient of Tulane 34 Award and the Crest Service and Leadership Award

Madison Hardee is an outstanding graduating law student from Greensboro, N.C., who successfully balances the challenging law curriculum with her dedication to service. From day one of her law school career continuing through her current and final term, she has excelled as a leader in providing legal assistance to the campus community and the community at large. Starting in her first month of school, Hardee volunteered at TULAP (Tulane Legal Assistance Program), where she now serves as the Civil Clinic director. In addition, Hardee has volunteered and externed with AIDSLaw of Louisiana (May-August 2010), the Women’s Legal Aid Centre in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania (summer 2011), and Health Law Advocates of Louisiana (present). In another major leadership position, she currently serves as president of the Tulane Public Interest Law Foundation (PILF), which is the law school’s largest and most active student organization with almost 250 members. Most recently, as Hardee became aware in the fall of 2011 of an unmet need impacting our recent alumnae and others in the wake of Katrina, she co-organized a free collections clinic targeting appeals of alleged Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) overpayments. The result was a community forum produced in record time with more than 50 families receiving legal advice, and helpful information available to many more.

In addition to these all-campus honors, which will be recognized at a ceremony held on Wednesday (May 16), the law school will host its own annual awards ceremony for outstanding graduates this Friday at 4 p.m. in Room 110 of Weinmann Hall.*

*Tulane Law School’s Commencement Awards Ceremony is by invitation only.
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