|by Jim Amidon • March 24, 2005|
Senior David Pryzbylski took home top honors at Wednesday's Peck Awards Banquet sponsored by the Pre-Law Society when he was awarded the Junior Peck Medal as the outstanding pre-law senior.
Pryzbylski maintains a 3.99 grade point average with concentrations in speech, psychology, and French. (Click on the photo album link at the bottom of this story.)
"Every year we say what a difficult decision it was to select the Junior Peck Medal winner, and this year it really was," said presenter Scott Himsel ’85. Himsel noted that Pryzbylski emerged because of his excellent scholarship, work as philanthropy chair of his fraternity, Phi Kappa Psi, and because of the term he served as president of the house.
The Peck Medal honors the late David W. Peck ’22, a Harvard law graduate and New York power lawyer who was chief justice of the New York Appellate Court and a long-time member of the Wabash Board of Trustees.
Senior Matt Tanney was awarded the Bingham Award, which honors the late James Bingham ’11, who founded the Indianapolis law firm Bingham and Summers.
Senior Zach Sundstrum received the William Nelson White Scholarship for scholarship, personal integrity, and knowledge of law. He plans to teach for a year in Japan before enrolling in law school.
Steve Terry, a Rhodes Scholar and retired Baker and Daniels lawyer whose four sons attended Wabash (Dave, Tom, and Ed Broecker, and John Terry), attended the Peck Banquet to present the Joseph J. Daniels Award in Constitutional Law, which was awarded to Tim Flowers ’06.
Terry paid tribute to Daniels, Wabash Class of 1911, calling him "the most influential lawyer of his era." Daniels later worked on the Presidential campaign of Dwight Eisenhower, and served that administration as Solicitor General of the United States.
Indiana Supreme Court Justice Theodore Boehm delivered the keynote speech and accepted the Senior Peck Award for excellence in the law. Earlier in the day, Boehm met with students and faculty to discuss his time spent working as a law clerk for former Chief Justice Earl Warren. He noted the importance of a liberal arts education in the legal practice.
"I really think that having as broad an educational base you can is useful in practicing the law," Boehm said. "There are three things critical to success in law: you must be able to write clearly, communicate effectively, and have a presence that persuades others. A liberal arts education is exactly the way to gain that experience.
"This has been sort of an ‘old home week’ for me because of the close ties I have to several Wabash alumni."
Justice Boehm mentioned Barney Hollett ’36 and Joe Daniels as his mentors throughout his legal career that began at Harvard Law School and later on to the Indianapolis firm Baker and Daniels, co-founded by Joe Daniels. Hollett, who was Eli Lilly’s personal attorney, took Boehm under his wing early in the young justice’s career. "Barney’s wisdom, strength, and patience were unlimited for a young lawyer like me," Boehm said.
Justice Boehm said a career in the law can be a truly rewarding experience, in and out of the courtroom. "David Shane (’70) and Clay Robbins (’79) are two examples of men who are not currently practicing law, but who are making enormous contributions to our community — Dave as Governor Mitch Daniels’ education czar and Clay as president of Lilly Endowment."
"This was the best banquet I have attended in four years," Pre-Law Society President Matthew Bredefeld said. "I think Justice Boehm is an incredible speaker and did a wonderful job shedding light on the changing nature of law. It’s hard to pass up an opportunity to hear from someone who worked for Chief Justice Earl Warren."
Jacob Straub attended the banquet to hear Justice Boehm and connect with several prominent Wabash alums.
"I think Justice Boehm was articulate," Straub said. "He helped give an eye-witness perspective of the Warren Court during the tumultuous time. It was a great talk."