Niagara University’s student-led Pre-Law Honor Society, Phi Delta Phi, Belva Lockwood Hall, inducted 12 pre-law students on May 7.

Stephanie Cole Adams, former university general counsel and founder of the Law Office of Stephanie Adams, was honorary inductee. The ceremony was held via Zoom due to social distancing requirements.

“Celebrating the extraordinary achievements of Niagara pre-law students is always a highlight of the spring semester, so it was imperative for us to find ways to recreate our end-of-year traditions, including the annual induction into the international legal honor society, Phi Delta Phi,” said Kevin A. Hinkley, J.D., visiting professor of political science and pre-law program advisor, who gave the welcome and closing remarks. “This year's inductees join an extraordinary collection of Niagara pre-law alumni who are achieving distinction at some of the nation's finest law schools.

“To qualify for induction,” he continued, “students must demonstrate academic excellence, dedication to the study of law, and a commitment to ethics, integrity, and honorable conduct in all pursuits. This year's inductees exemplify these characteristics, and it is wonderful to be able to recognize and celebrate their achievements.”

Adams, one of Western New York's leading attorneys, gave the keynote presentation. Known across campus as "Cole" when she served as general counsel from 2006-17, Adams was the unanimous selection of the Hall's current student members. After more than a decade at Niagara University, Adams founded an innovative, woman-owned law firm in Buffalo, which has earned widespread acclaim and recognition. She has remained engaged in life on campus, serving as a guest lecturer in Hinkley's Women and the Law course, and sharing her insights and experience to help the university navigate complex challenges.

This year’s inductees included:

• Isabella Aiu

• Oliver Ashe

• William Berard

• Mairead Cooney

• Margaret Doolin

• Adam Kiedrowski

• Kevin McDonnell

• Kevin Rinaldi

• Michela Rossetti

• Steven Sams II

• Nicholas Stoll

• Rory Wheeler

Jacob Tucker served as 2019-20 president of Phi Delta Phi. Other officers included Sarah Wetzel, vice president; Shyla Muralidharan, secretary; Renée Lachajczyk, historian; and Arianna Gabriel, exchequer.

This was the fourth annual Phi Delta Phi induction ceremony for the Niagara University Belva Lockwood Hall. Belva Lockwood of Niagara County was a pioneering woman attorney, an independent presidential candidate (running twice, decades before the 19th Amendment was ratified), and the first woman Supreme Court advocate. Founded in 1869, Phi Delta Phi is the oldest legal society in the United States and one of the oldest professional organizations in the Western Hemisphere.

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