Recognition Celebration Honors Professor Saucedo, Scholarship Donors and Recipients
Professor Leticia Saucedo was presented with the William and Sally Rutter Distinguished Teaching Award and King Hall scholarship donors and recipients were honored at the 34th Annual Scholarship Recognition and Distinguished Teaching Award Celebration. The event on March 14 included remarks from Dean Kevin R. Johnson, Professor Saucedo, Professor Miguel Méndez, and Dean's Merit Scholarship recipient Irene Williams '14.
Dean Johnson acted as master of ceremonies, welcoming the audience and thanking the donors present, which included two members of the Rutter family, Paul Rutter and Jennifer Uhl. "Through your efforts, we have built, in just a little more than 40 years, an elite law school of international prominence," Dean Johnson said. "With the support of the King Hall community, our law school has continued to grow and to reach new levels of excellence. We have improved our building, recruited superstar additions to our outstanding faculty, launched groundbreaking academic initiatives and international partnerships, increased our commitment to student aid, and boosted our international reputation. We continue to attract dedicated and talented students, many of whom will be honored here tonight. Thank you all for your support of UC Davis School of Law."
Irene Williams also thanked the donors for supporting scholarships that helped make it possible for her to attend King Hall. She spoke of how she grew up "in the projects" in Houston, Texas as part of a poor family that often couldn't afford electricity or running water, but "kept on dreaming" of one day becoming a lawyer. "To the donors, I want to say, ‘Thank you for your contributions, which have directly aided me and so many of my classmates in achieving our goals,'" said Williams. "I'd like to close by saying that I'm truly blessed. Every day I am at King Hall is a reminder of where I've come from and where I'm going. To everyone here tonight, thank you all for encouraging me and every student at King Hall to keep dreaming."
Turning to the presentation of the Distinguished Teaching Award winner, Dean Johnson praised Professor Saucedo and her contribution to the School of Law. "She is an outstanding legal scholar whose scholarship on the intersections of employment, labor, and immigration law has been published in leading law reviews," he said. "She also is a passionate believer in clinical legal education and a teacher who is always willing to go above and beyond expectations for her students."
Professor Méndez spoke next, recalling his experiences as part of the recruiting committee that helped to bring Professor Saucedo to UC Davis School of Law in 2010. "I'm very glad we persuaded you to come here because you've been an outstanding colleague, an outstanding teacher, and an outstanding member of this community," said Méndez. "We're especially glad tonight as we celebrate the teaching award."
The event closed with remarks from Professor Saucedo, who talked about how she never imagined herself being a law professor when she began her career path, but felt fortunate to have been recruited into academia by people committed to using the law to achieve social change. She thanked the Rutter family for endowing the Distinguished Teaching Award and spoke admiringly of her colleagues and her students, who continue to inspire her.
"I am quite fortunate to have landed as a teacher in a place like Davis," she said. "My dean, my colleagues, my co-workers in the clinic, and my husband, all support our efforts to teach and to learn, while in law school, from a place of experience, the life lessons that our future lawyers will carry with them, lessons about the respect and dignity that all of our clients, whether rich or poor, regardless of immigration status, deserve. I am deeply humbled and proud to be part of a community of scholars and teachers who care so much not just about their students but about the clients they will represent."