NewsFive Exemplary Buckeyes Honored at 2023 Alumni Awards
Five Exemplary Buckeyes Honored at 2023 Alumni Awards
Oct. 31, 2023
The Moritz College of Law recently celebrated the contributions of several outstanding individuals at the 2023 Alumni Awards. Each year, these awards recognize alumni selected from a deep and exceptionally well-qualified pool of nominees.
“One of my greatest joys as dean is seeing our graduates make a difference in the world,” said Dean Lincoln Davies. “Their leadership and service inspire us all to reach greater heights in our personal lives and careers.”
This award recognizes a recent graduate whose accomplishments exemplify outstanding professionalism or loyalty to the College community.
Stevens is a partner in Vorys’ Columbus office and a member of the labor and employment group where she defends employers in litigation that includes claims of wrongful discharge, discrimination, hostile work environment and harassment, wage and hour violations, breach of contract, and non-compete litigation. She is also a member of the Vorys hiring and Diversity Equity and Inclusion committees, serves as the chair of the Vorys Diversity Network, and founded and leads the Vorys Initiative for Business Empowerment (VIBE). VIBE is an innovative program aimed at making legal services more accessible to racial and ethnic minority owned business. Janay is a wife, mother to her son, Preston, and has two golden doodles.
The George V. Voinovich Humanitarian Award: Angela Plummer ‘92
This award is presented to alumni who, like Senator Voinovich, has devoted significant time and energy to causes and projects that benefit the greater community and the welfare of humanity.
Plummer is the Executive Director of Community Refugee & Immigration Services (CRIS), a non-profit organization serving refugees and immigrants in Central Ohio. She started as a volunteer lawyer at CRIS in 1998 and became Executive Director of the agency in 2003. Among her professional accomplishments, she lists the participation in resettlement of more than 10,000 refugees to Columbus, Ohio, and the successful resolution of many family reunification and asylum cases. She is the proud mother of two children and lives with her husband, John Marshall, a fellow Moritz graduate, in Columbus, Ohio.
Inclusive Excellence Award: Dr. Robert J. Weiler, Sr.
This award honors a graduate or friend of the College who has advocated on behalf of marginalized communities, furthered the goals of diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice, or as an alum of a diverse population, has trailblazed a path for those diverse professionals who will follow by making a difference through their legal education.
Dr. Weiler has had an accomplished career in real estate and has served as Chairman of the Board for The Robert Weiler Company since 1957. He is a past president of the Columbus Board of Realtors, member of the Society of Real Estate Counselors, and a director of the National Association of Realtors. Dr. Weiler, and his late wife Missy, have a long track record of supporting educational equity causes focused on advancing historically underrepresented minority populations and other economically disadvantaged individuals throughout our community. The I Know I Can scholarship fund—which the Weilers began in 1988 with three others—has spent tens of millions of dollars helping thousands of Columbus public school graduates over the past three decades. In 2016, they established a scholarship at the Moritz College of Law to encourage interest in real estate careers. Dr. Weiler serves as a mentor and teaches Real Estate Finance as an adjunct professor at Moritz.
William K. Thomas Distinguished Jurist Award: Magistrate Judge Chelsey Vascura ‘03
This award is presented to a current or former judge whose personal integrity and commitment to fairness, freedom, and equality exemplify the highest ideals of the judicial system.
Magistrate Judge Vascura began her legal career at Vorys, Sater, Seymour, and Pease, practicing civil litigation. In 2006, she clerked for the Honorable George C. Smith and in 2010 became the law clerk for the Honorable Elizabeth Preston Deavers. In 2017, Magistrate Judge Vascura was appointed to the United States District Court Southern District for her first eight-year term. She serves on the boards of the Federal Bar Association, the Ohio Lawyer’s Assistance Program, and as a member of the Southern District of Ohio Local Rules Committee. Magistrate Judge Vascura is an adjunct professor at Moritz, teaching Pretrial Litigation, Depositions and Discovery, and Trial Advocacy. She also serves as an instructor on civil practice at the bi-annual Federal Practice Seminar for the Southern District of Ohio.
Distinguished Alumni Award: Elizabeth (Liza) Kessler ‘93
The Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes alumni for their exceptional achievement or outstanding service to the college or community.
Kessler joined Jones Day in its litigation practice following her graduation, with a focus on multijurisdictional cases and class actions. She currently serves as the Columbus office Partner-in-Charge. Her current community involvement includes serving as Board Chair of the Columbus Regional Airport Authority and the Columbus School for Girls. Kessler is a member of the Columbus Partnership and on the boards of The Center for Healthy Families and the Wexner Center Foundation. In 2018, Governor Kasich appointed her to The Ohio State University Board of Trustees where she chairs the Legal, Audit, Risk & Compliance committee.
Every fall, Moritz students compete in the intramural Lawrence Negotiation Competition, named for James K. L. Lawrence ’65. The winners and runners-up in this week-long competition move on to Regional and National Negotiations Competitions conducted by the American Bar Association.