Graduating students receive awards at 2022 Commencement

Graduating students received prestigious School of Law awards at the 2022 Commencement Ceremony on May 15. Gabby Kolencik L'22 and Erin McCluan L'22 were the recipients on the 2022 Distinguished Student Awards. Evening student Kristen Petrina L'22 received the John J. Sciullo Peer Excellency Award, while Kathryn Czekalski was the recipient of the Dr. John and Liz Murray Award for Excellence in Student Scholarship.

The 2022 Distinguished Student Award was not the first honor Kolencik received this past academic year. In the spring semester, her Trial Advocacy Team was part of the National Competition . There, she was recognized as the competition's "Best Advocate" and for giving the Best Opening Statement. Additionally, in the fall semester she was recognized as the #1 Best Advocate among 112 law student competitors at the Buffalo-Niagara National Trial Competition. Kolencik also was a 3-3 student who served as the editor-in-chief of Joule: Duquesne Energy and Environmental Law Journal, and was an ambassador for the Admissions Office. Kolencik clerked at Robert Peirce & Associates, P.C., and will transition to an attorney position upon successful admission to the Pennsylvania Bar.

The other 2022 Distinguished Student Award recipient, McCluan, was an Associate Editor for the Duquesne Law Review and a member of the Health Law Society and the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society. Of McCluan , a faculty member wrote, "I have known many hard-working, honest, exemplary persons of high integrity in my career, and Erin McCluan is the epitome of those deeply admirable qualities. The fact that she has chosen to become a lawyer is a gift to our profession and, as her law teacher, to me. Erin has exhibited undaunted courage and tenacity and a deep commitment to excellence."

Petrina was recognized by her classmates with the John J. Sciullo Peer Excellency Award. She was an evening student who worked full-time at PNC Bank while attending law school. In the nominations, her fellow students highlighted her helpfulness, advocacy for others, academic achievements, contributions, and compassion. After taking the Pennsylvania Bar in July, Petrina will begin her law career with Dentons, Cohen & Grigsby in Pittsburgh as an associate in the M&A/Private Equity practice group.

Czekalski was the recipient of the Dr. John and Liz Murray Award for Excellence in Student Scholarship. This award is presented annually to a graduating student who authored the most outstanding published law review article of anyone in the graduating class. She was an Associate Editor on the Duquesne Law Review, teaching assistant for the School of Law's nationally recognized Legal Research and Writing program, and a Research Assistant. She will join Dinsmore & Shohl LLP in the firm's Pittsburgh office as an Associate Patent Attorney.

Congratulations to all our award winners as you pursue your bigger goals !

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and horizon-expanding education. A campus of nearly 8,500 graduate and undergraduate students, Duquesne prepares students by having them work alongside faculty to discover and reach their goals. The University’s academic programs, community service, and commitment to equity and opportunity in the Pittsburgh region have earned national acclaim.

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