The School of Law is pleased to announce the winners of its alumni awards, given annually to recognize outstanding leadership, service, and achievement of its graduates. Widener has honored its distinguished alumni since 1976. This year’s awards were given Thursday, March 20 at The Down Town Club in Philadelphia.
The Alumna of the Year Award
went to Judge Maria C. McLaughlin of Philadelphia. The award is presented to an alumna or alumnus who, through service to her or his community or profession, or by honors received, service rendered or other accomplishments, has brought honor, recognition and distinction to the Widener University School of Law. McLaughlin graduated from the school’s Delaware campus in 1992.
McLaughlin was elected to the Court of Common Pleas First Judicial District in 2011, where she presides over family and criminal law matters. She is a member of the National Association of Women Judges, a member of the Widener Law Alumni Board and a member of the “Do the Write Thing” national youth anti-violence campaign. She previously worked as the chief assistant district attorney of the Child Support Enforcement Unit in Philadelphia, as one of the youngest female chiefs appointed by then-District Attorney Lynne Abraham.
The Outstanding Service Award
went to Carl W. Battle, of King of Prussia, Pa. The service award is given for outstanding alumni service to the law school as a whole, to a particular concentration within the school, or to the legal profession.
Battle graduated from Widener’s Delaware campus in 1982 and he works as senior vice president and chief patent counsel for Glaxo Smith Kline. He directs global legal functions for intellectual property and related litigation, licensing and business development activities. He serves on the Widener Law National Advisory Council and is an adjunct professor of intellectual property law. He also serves as a mentor to several law students. He established a law school scholarship fund in his name, and in the name of his ’82 classmate Leon Williams.
The Outstanding Recent Alumna Award
went to Catherine M. Dotto of Harrisburg, Pa.The award recognizes work by a recent graduate who shows energy and dedication as a community leader or provides invaluable service to the Widener University School of Law.
Dotto is a 2009 graduate of the law school’s Harrisburg, Pa. campus. She works as manager of government relations for the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants in Harrisburg. Her advocacy efforts are primarily focused on professional licensure issues and tax policies.
Since graduating, Dotto served as an alumni class agent from 2009-2012. She speaks to new students about how Widener changed her life, and through the Career Development Office about the important role practicing attorneys play in the development of the law.
“It was with much pride that I had the pleasure of presenting the alumni awards to these very deserving candidates,” said Alumni Association Board President Renae Axelrod ’91. “The recipients are evidence of the strength of our alumni body and through much hard work and dedication they continue to raise the bar for Widener Law. I was particularly honored to present the Hon. Maria C. McLaughlin ’91 with the alumna of the year award as I have worked side by side with her on the alumni board. Her success professionally, and efforts to give back, are truly an example to which all of us should strive.”
The awards ceremony was followed by an alumni reception attended by approximately 300 people, including nearly 30 judges and graduates of both law campuses in Wilmington, Del. and Harrisburg, Pa. This annual event presented by the Office of Development & Alumni Relations is the largest alumni function of the year and is a time to celebrate the school and its many successful graduates.