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W&L Law Presents Alumni Awards during 2024 Reunion Celebration Bill Oast ’71, ‘74L was honored with the Outstanding Alumnus Award. Calvin Awkward ’06, ‘09L and Kathy McLaughlin ‘19L were recognized for volunteer work.

DSC_7776-800x533 W&L Law Presents Alumni Awards during 2024 Reunion CelebrationAlumni and current students discuss law school “now and then.”

More than 350 Washington and Lee law school alumni and guests returned for this year’s reunion celebration, held April 12-14 in Lexington. This was the second highest attendance on record since the law school began holding a separate alumni weekend in 2007.

Strong breezes greeted alumni as the rolled into Lexington Friday afternoon to take part in such popular events “Now and Then—Reflections from Tucker and Lewis Halls,” where members of the 50th, 25th and 10th reunion classes joined with current students to talk about their time in law school. Alumni also “returned to the classroom” with Prof. Chris Seaman for a discussion on election law.

Saturday morning kicked off with a student and alumni breakfast, followed by updates from Dean Melanie Wilson and President Will Dudley. Next, during the Law Alumni Association annual meeting, Law Council president Corrine Hufft ‘00L passed the gavel to Neil Millhiser ‘11L, who will lead the association in the coming year. Afterwards, Dean Melanie Wilson announced the recipients of the Outstanding Alumnus/a Award, Volunteer of the Year Award and Young Volunteer of the Year Award.

DSC06519-600x400 W&L Law Presents Alumni Awards during 2024 Reunion CelebrationLaw Council president Corrine Hufft ’00L passes the leadership gavel to Neil Millhiser ’11L.

The 2024 Outstanding Alumus/a Award was given to Bill Oast ’71, ‘74L for exceptional achievements in his career and unselfish service to his community and his alma mater. Oast’s practice areas include Elder Law, Trust and Fiduciary Litigation, Guardianships and Conservatorships, Estate and Trust Administration, and Estate Planning. Among other associations, he is a member of the Virginia State Bar, the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, and the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association.

In the 1990s, Oast became one of the first attorneys in Virginia to dedicate his practice to the emerging field of Elder Law. He was a founding member of the Virginia Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (VAELA), and for many years he served on the organization’s Board of Directors as its Treasurer.

In 2019 the Red Cross recognized Oast’s extraordinary service and dedication with the Red Cross Celebration of Heroes Award. Oast has been giving blood since he enlisted in the National Guard in the late 60s. Over the years, he has given blood twice a month in what is a four-hour process. To date he has donated 16 gallons of whole blood and 130 gallons of platelets and plasma.

Oast has been an important volunteer at W&L Law by giving his time on the Law Council, Reunion Class Committee, Class Agent, Alumni Career Mentor while also serving the Tidewater W&L Alumni Chapter as a Law Liaison and Board Member.

DSC06595-600x400 W&L Law Presents Alumni Awards during 2024 Reunion CelebrationDean Melanie Wilson presents the Outstanding Alumnus Award to Bill Oast ’71, ’74L.

The Volunteer of the Year Award recognizes those individuals who go above and beyond assisting the Law School. Whether it is hosting an alumni event, mentoring a student, serving as a class agent, raising money in honor of a reunion, or serving on the Law Council, Alumni Board, or Board of Trustees, volunteers take this school to the next level. This year’s recipient was Calvin Awkward ‘06, ‘09L.

Awkward is a Partner at Goldberg Segalla in Baltimore. Active in state and local bar associations, Calvin is also on the Construction Law Section Steering Committee of the Defense Research Institute (DRI) and is the committee’s Online Programming Co-Chair and Diversity Liaison.

Awkward’s dedication and involvement spans various facets of alumni engagement. He previously served as a member of the law school’s Young Alumni Board and Williams School of Commerce Young Alumni Council. He has served as a mentor for minority undergraduate students and serves as an Alumni Career Mentor.

Currently, Awkward is a member of the Baltimore Alumni Chapter, Law Council, Co-Chair of the Law Annual Fund, Class Agent for the Class of 2009 Law, Class Agent for the Class of 2006, member of the Class of 2006 Reunion Committee and member of the Class of 2009 Law Reunion Committee.

DSC06577-600x400 W&L Law Presents Alumni Awards during 2024 Reunion CelebrationDean Melanie Wilson with Volunteer of the Year Calvin Awkward ’06L, ’09L.

The Young Volunteer of the Year Award recognizes those young alumni who go out of their way to assist W&L Law in recruiting students and mentoring students in their career searches. The recipient this year was Kathy McLaughlin ‘19L. Originally from Seattle, Washington, McLaughlin attended Washington State University, then worked for two years in the marketing field before coming to W&L.

Since graduation, McLaughlin has served as a Deputy State Public Defender working for the Office of the Colorado State Public Defender. McLaughlin also supervises new attorneys in her regional office. McLaughlin has been an outstanding partner for the Offices of Career Strategy and Law Admissions. She has participated in Zoom calls to recruit students and spoken with current students about public defense work and about how to maximize their time at W&L to prepare for a career in public interest.

DSC06549-600x400 W&L Law Presents Alumni Awards during 2024 Reunion CelebrationDean Melanie Wilson with Young Volunteer of the Year, Kathy McLaughlin ’19L.

The next Law Alumni Weekend is scheduled for April 4-6, 2025.

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