Widener Law alumni sworn in to U.S. Supreme Court Bar
Public Relations - Published: November 17, 2010

Thirty-seven distinguished Widener Law alumni stood before the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday, Nov. 15 and took the oath to become members of the Supreme Court Bar.

With the court’s newest justice, Elena Kagan, looking on and Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. presiding, Delaware Supreme Court Justice Randy Holland read the names of the alumni and offered them as fit to become members of the court’s bar. Holland is a member of the Widener Law adjunct faculty.

Law Dean Linda L. Ammons and members of the school’s Office of Development and Alumni Relations accompanied the group.

Roberts and Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Samuel A. Alito Jr. joined the Widener contingent in a reception room following the 15-minute court proceeding, during which Ginsburg announced the court’s first decision of the new term.

“Congratulations to all of you,” Roberts said in the reception room. “It’s a significant milestone and we’re delighted to have you on board.”

Each of the justices visited the Widener reception separately. Alito came first and spoke about his time as a judge on the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Roberts entertained the group with stories about the portraits of former chief justices hanging around the stately reception room. Ginsburg took questions and generated much applause, particularly from her female admirers.

“May I say thank you for being one of the women to lead the way,” said Ellen Pappas, who accompanied her husband, alumnus George Pappas, to the event.

After free time to roam the court building and visit its museum, the group traveled to a luncheon at the University Club in Washington, where alumna Cynthia Ryan was the featured speaker. Ryan graduated from the Delaware campus in 1979 and is a member of the school’s National Advisory Council. She works as general counsel to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, within the Department of Defense.

Ryan spoke about her career which has included time working in government, as a prosecutor and as counsel to the Drug Enforcement Administration. Government service, she said, “has really provided me with opportunities to shape the law that have national and international impact.”

She went on to congratulate her fellow alumni on the accomplishment of their bar admittance and left them with something to consider.

“Ask yourselves,” she concluded, “what you can give back to the school that has given you the opportunity to be the success that you are today.”

Dean Ammons said the day was memorable, not only for the alumni but for the history of Widener Law.

“I am proud to see our graduates attain this elite status, and we are all grateful to the justices and staff of the Supreme Court for the warm welcome we received,” she said. “None of us will forget what a special experience this was

The alumni sworn into the bar traveled to the nation’s capital from as far as the state of Washington to take part in the event. They included:
  • Deirdre A. Agnew
  • Carl Wright Battle
  • Amy Lynn Bennecoff
  • Seth Nathan Boer
  • Norman William Briggs
  • H. Joshua Burg
  • Noelle Palazzo Burg
  • Shaun Patrick Byrne
  • Karen Andrea Caco
  • Thomas Andrew Cushane
  • Adam Brandon Cutler
  • Carole A. Donahue
  • William Joseph Dunn Jr.
  • Matthew X. Eldridge
  • Patrick Francis Flanigan
  • Varvara Mariana Gokea
  • Carol B. Haight
  • Constance L. Jones
  • Charles S. Knothe
  • Michael J. Konowal
  • Evan Y. Liu
  • Robert C. McDonald
  • Lisa Clare Lerner Miller
  • James P. Paoli
  • George Dino Pappas
  • John Harold Pietrzak
  • James M. Rodgers
  • David L. Rohde
  • Edward Joseph Ross III
  • Tara Leigh Ross
  • Carrie Nicole Smith
  • Jennifer Stonerod
  • Karen Vincent-Lavanga
  • Hamel Vyas
  • Jennifer L. Walker
  • Leon Williams
  • Tamika Nicole Wyche