KU News Release


June 20, 2011
Contact: Mindie Paget, School of Law, 785-864-9205

Law school honors top graduates for scholarship, leadership and service

More Information

LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas School of Law honored graduates at a hooding ceremony May 21. During the ceremony, nine students received awards for distinguishing themselves in scholarship, leadership and service to the law school and the community.


Katie Barnett



Slade Bond



Daniel Buller



Jay Kramer



Evan North



Ellen O'Leary



Amanda Payton



Melissa Plunkett



Erin Slinker Tomasic

The recipients were:

— Katie Barnett, Topeka, Walter Hiersteiner Outstanding Service Award
— Slade Bond, Fredericksburg, Va., Janean Meigs Memorial Award
— Daniel Buller, Ingalls, Faculty Award for Academic Achievement
— Jay Kramer, Lenexa, Robert F. Bennett Award
— Evan North, Lenexa, Samuel Mellinger Scholarship, Leadership and Service Award
— Ellen O’Leary, Shawnee, Class of 1949 Leadership Award
— Amanda Payton, Overland Park, Justice Lloyd Kagey Leadership Award
— Melissa Plunkett, Joplin, Mo., Samuel Mellinger Scholarship, Leadership and Service Award
— Erin Slinker Tomasic, Greenville, Ky., Faculty Award for Academic Achievement

The award winners were part of a class composed of 168 recipients of the juris doctor, three doctor of juridical science graduates and one candidate for the master of laws in elder law.

Funds for the awards and scholarships are managed by KU Endowment, the independent, nonprofit foundation serving as the official fundraising and fund-management organization for KU. Founded in 1891, KU Endowment was the first foundation of its kind at a U.S. public university.

Award recipients are listed below by hometown.

GRAY COUNTY
From Ingalls 67853
Daniel Buller received one of two Faculty Awards for Outstanding Scholastic Achievement, which go to graduating students selected by the faculty as having made the most significant contribution toward overall legal scholarship. Buller was managing editor of the Kansas Law Review. He was a member of the Moot Court Council and a teaching assistant for the lawyering program. He competed in the final round of the law school’s in-house moot court competition. Buller also co-authored two published papers on the subject of cloud computing and was a Shook, Hardy & Bacon Scholar. He is the son of Galen and Ruby Buller and a graduate of Ingalls High School and Wichita State University, with a bachelor’s in philosophy.

JOHNSON COUNTY
From Lenexa 66215
Evan North received one of two Samuel Mellinger Scholarship, Leadership and Service Awards, given to graduates who have most distinguished themselves in the combined areas of scholarship, leadership and service. North was an articles editor on the Kansas Law Review, in which he published a comment on discovery of social networking information in civil litigation. He was a member of the winning team in the final round of the law school’s in-house moot court competition, earning a spot in the regional round of the national competition, where his team placed first and he was named best oralist. North served on the Moot Court Council and the Dean’s Student Advisory Board and as a teaching assistant for the lawyering program. He won two Payne and Jones Awards, the William L. Burdick Prize and was designated as a Shook, Hardy & Bacon Scholar and a Rice Scholar. North is the son of Ken and Janet North and a graduate of Shawnee Mission Northwest High School and Northwestern University, with a bachelor’s in journalism and political science.

From Lenexa 66219
Jay Kramer received the Robert F. Bennett Award, recognizing a graduate whose undergraduate degree is from a Kansas university or college and who has demonstrated leadership qualities through public service. Kramer was editor-in-chief of the Kansas Journal of Law and Public Policy and vice president of student government relations for the Federalist Society. He was also a news editor for the Kansas Law Free Press. He is the son of Richard and Jody Kramer and a graduate of Shawnee Mission West High School and Kansas State University, with a bachelor’s in political science.

From Overland Park 66223
Amanda Payton received the Justice Lloyd Kagey Leadership Award, given to the graduate who has most distinguished him or herself through leadership in the law school. She served on the Kansas Law Review staff and was chief justice of the Moot Court Council. Payton was a teaching assistant for the lawyering program and an assistant debate coach at Blue Valley High School. She is the daughter of Jacqueline Stigliano and a graduate of Blue Valley High School and New York University, with a bachelor’s in marketing and finance.

From Shawnee 66216
Ellen O’Leary received the Class of 1949 Leadership Award, given to the student who has contributed most significantly to the overall experience of the students in Green Hall. She was president of the American Constitutional Society and treasurer of Women in Law, International Law Society and Law Students for Reproductive Justice. O’Leary competed on the Jessup International Law Moot Court Team during each of her three years in law school. She studied and worked abroad in Istanbul and earned certificates in international trade and finance, as well as business and commercial law. O’Leary is the daughter of Richard and Barbara O’Leary and a graduate of Shawnee Mission Northwest High School and Truman State University, with a bachelor’s in political science and classics.

SHAWNEE COUNTY
From Topeka 66604
Katie Barnett received the Walter Hiersteiner Outstanding Service Award, given to the graduate whose service to his or her fellow students demonstrates the greatest promise for contribution to the legal profession and society. Barnett founded the KU Student Animal Legal Defense Fund, an organization that provides a forum for education, advocacy and scholarship aimed at protecting the interests of animals through the legal system and raising the profile of the field of animal law. Barnett authored or co-authored four published papers and helped establish an animal cruelty prosecution clinic at the law school. She also co-founded Game Dog Guardian. Barnett was president of the Intellectual Property Law Students Association and vice president and secretary of Women in Law. She is the daughter of Lesa Roberts and Michael Bray and a graduate of Topeka West High School and Missouri State University, with a bachelor’s in political science.

KENTUCKY
From Greenville 42345
Erin Slinker Tomasic received one of two Faculty Awards for Outstanding Scholastic Achievement, which go to graduating students selected by the faculty as having made the most significant contribution toward overall legal scholarship. She was an articles editor on the Kansas Law Review and a member of the Moot Court Council and Women in Law. She also served as a Dean’s Fellow and a teaching assistant for the lawyering program. Slinker Tomasic is completing a doctorate in anthropology from the University at Albany-SUNY. She is the daughter of Dennis and Suzanne Slinker and a graduate of Muhlenberg North High School, Centre College (bachelor’s in anthropology) and Texas State University (master’s in anthropology).

MISSOURI
From Joplin 64804
Melissa Plunkett received one of two Samuel Mellinger Scholarship, Leadership and Service Awards, given to graduates who have most distinguished themselves in the combined areas of scholarship, leadership and service. She was editor-in-chief of the Kansas Law Review and was selected to carry the law school banner at Commencement. Plunkett was a teaching assistant for the lawyering program and a member of the Moot Court Council. She also earned a Payne and Jones Award. Plunkett is the daughter of Ken and Mary Plunkett and a graduate of Joplin High School and Westminster College, with a bachelor’s in secondary education and a minor in mathematical science.

VIRGINIA
From Fredericksburg 22407
Slade Bond received the Janean Meigs Memorial Award, given to the student who has demonstrated a caring spirit in service to the students of the law school or the community at large. He was an articles editor and the technology chair for the Kansas Journal of Law and Public Policy, and he was a member of the Dean’s Student Advisory Board. Bond founded and served as editor-in-chief of the Kansas Law Free Press and was vice president of the Student Bar Association. Bond is the son of Kimberly and Kenneth Bond and a graduate of Chancellor High School and the University of Mary Washington, with a bachelor’s in American studies.


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