Silas Allard, candidate for the Juris Doctor and Master of Theological Studies degrees, is the 2011 recipient of the Marion Luther Brittain Award, which provides public recognition of a student’s service to Emory and is the highest student honor presented by the University, according to the Emory website.
The award is given without any expectation of recognition, Senior Vice President and Dean of Campus Life John Ford wrote in an email to the Wheel
, noting that the award recognizes the “most outstanding” graduating undergraduate or graduate student at the end of each academic year.
“The graduating student becomes the symbol and spokesperson for all of Emory’s highest values for student life,” Ford wrote.
Allard wrote in an email to the Wheel
that he was surprised to find out he received the award, through a phone call from Ford.
“I know that the student body at Emory is engaged in a vast variety of committed and influential academic, service and social justice work,” he wrote. “That my projects have caught the eye of the University is a source of pride and inspiration.”
Allard has been active in the public interest and international law work of the Emory School of Law, including the Emory Public Interest Committee, International Law Society and Emory International Law Review.
He wrote that through these various organizations, along with partner organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union and the Georgia Asylum and Immigration Network, he has spent ample time working on issues of migration and human rights.
“I maintain concern over matters of international law and human rights generally as well as the capacity of the legal system to serve and afford justice to all persons,” Alllard wrote.
Allard said he feels his primary contribution to the University has been helping to enrich discourse regarding human rights through public lectures, conferences, publications and his assistance in the mentorship of students dedicated to human rights and social justice.
One of Allard’s nominators for the award was Assistant Dean of Student Affairs of the law school Katherine Brokaw. Brokaw wrote in an email to the Wheel
that Allard’s high academic achievement, student leadership and community service have contributed to his nomination.
“He has been a tireless, cheerful and mature student leader at the law school and an Emory ‘community builder,’” she wrote in the email.
She explained, Allard has done extensive work for the Emory Public Interest Committee (EPIC), of which he is a member and one of the executive board members.
EPIC is a law-school based student organization that provides active support and a “network for students who wish to pursue careers in the public interest,” according to Brokaw.
Brokaw also cited Allard’s work as the co-chair for a conference held at Emory in honor of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
He acquired staff support and other student volunteers and was the “mastermind and the tireless leader who made this conference happen,” she wrote.
Yet, Allard explained that he could not have fulfilled his accomplishments without the support of his peers and the Emory faculty.
“If I have accomplished anything during my time at Emory, it is only the result of the support and kindness of the many persons I have shared my experience with,” he wrote.
Allard said his friends, colleagues and mentors are those who fit into this category.
“I hope that my relationship with Emory by virtue of my relationship with students, faculty, staff and alumni will continue to enrich my life and that I might in turn continue to offer something to the University community.”
He will be honored as the recipient of the Brittain award at commencement on May 19.
— Contact Jordan Friedman