Merton Howard ’92 and Chris Viadro ’92 Honored at Alumni Graduates Dinner
The USF Law Society welcomed the Class of 2018 to the ranks of alumni at the Alumni Graduates Dinner on May 16 at the Julia Morgan Ballroom. Outstanding alumni, students, and faculty were recognized for their accomplishments.
Merton Howard ’92 received the inaugural Donald L. Carano ’59 Alumni of the Year Award, which was renamed earlier this year in honor of the late Don Carano, a leader in the wine and gaming industries.
Howard graduated first in his class and quickly became partner at Hancock Rothert & Bunshoft before joining Hanson Bridgett as a partner, where his practice covers all aspects of civil litigation and business risk management. He has served as the chair of the product liability and tort practice group at Hanson Bridgett, among other key responsibilities. Howard served on the USF School of Law Board of Governors, including serving as president, and has hired and mentored students and hosted numerous law events.
Chris Viadro ’92 received the John J. Meehan Alumni Fellow award, which recognizes alumni who have provided outstanding mentorship to law students. A partner at Butler Viadro, LLP, Viadro is immediate past president of the Board of Governors and spearheaded the implementation of the law school’s Alumni Mentor Program.
“Chris mentors at least one student at a time, hires students while they are waiting for bar results, and enlists other alumni to mentor students,” said Christine Gregorak ’93, president of the Board of Governors. “Thanks in large part to Chris’ personal investment and enthusiasm for the Alumni Mentor Program, it now engages more than 100 alumni as mentors to law students.”
“You can make a big difference in a law student’s life, in a young lawyer’s life,” Viadro said. “I was four years into my practice before I found somebody to mentor me. These students who are graduating and the current students shouldn’t have to wait that long. Get engaged in the school, be a mentor, put someone on their path.”
Dean John Trasviña presented the Professor John Adler Distinguished Professor Award to Professor Bill Ong Hing, describing him as loved at our school and a nationally respected expert in immigration policy.
“His leadership of the Immigration and Deportation Defense Clinic over the last three years has provided tremendous education opportunities for all the students who participated in it, and the lives and futures of newcomers to our nation,” said Trasviña.
In his remarks to the graduates, Hing inspired them to fulfill their life’s work to be a good person. “There are two virtues I would highlight: justice and courage,” he said. “Justice in the sense of treating people equally and respectfully. And courage in the sense of being able to and willing to intervene when you see people aren’t being treated fairly. The best thing I can say about the graduates is they are good people — fair, respectful, and good to strangers as well as their friends and neighbors.”
Several other awards were presented that evening, including the Hon. Ira A. Brown Jr. Distinguished Adjunct Professor Award to Professor Davis Yee and the Student Bar Association Award to Ward Hoskins ’18. The Andersen Tax Awards went to JD/MBA student Michael McQuiller ’18 and LLM student Brandon Oldham ’18.
The USF School of Law graciously acknowledges event lead sponsor Hanson Bridgett; Butler Viadro, LLP; Miller, Sabino, and Lee Legal Placement Services; The Arns Firm; Murphy, Pearson, Bradley and Feeney; Tournesol; Trombadore Gonden Law Group LLP; The Brandi Law Firm; Rincon Search; and Hon. Lynn Duryee ’79.
View more photos from the event on Flickr.