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Amicus Brief: Terry M. Giles Honor Scholar Program

Amicus Brief

Editor's Note:

As the namesake of the Terry M. Giles Honor Scholarship, University regent and School of Law Board of Visitors member and campaign committee co-chair Terry Giles (JD ’74) selects each year a third-year recipient based on academic achievement and involvement in the law school’s activities.

But for Terry, when it came time to choose among this year’s finalists Alyssa Ayotte (’07, JD ’12), Caitlin Leonard (JD ’12), Megan Rechberg (JD ’12), Chalak Richards (JD ’12), and Bradley Thomasma (’09, JD ’12), he learned that selecting just one of these extraordinary students would be more difficult than he imagined.

With Terry’s permission, I am sharing his response to the School of Law explaining how he arrived at his final decision. The outcome is a powerful example of our alumni partnering with students to change lives in the most inspiring ways.


From: Terry Giles
Sent: Wednesday, April 18, 2012 1:13 PM
To: Barfield, Margaret E.
Cc: Tacha, Deanell
Subject: TMG Scholar

Hi Margaret,

Well, this year was the most difficult in the nearly 30 years I have been doing this. Literally every candidate was fantastic.

  1. Caitlin was off the charts smart and has incredible charm.
  2. Bradley is a born entrepreneur and will have a hard time deciding between being a successful lawyer and a successful businessman.
  3. Alyssa is not only terrific in every possible category—she might also be the nicest person you could ever meet.
  4. Chalak has all the skills necessary and a heart as big as California. Her dedication to her non-profit passion is remarkable.
  5. Megan is going to have unbelievable trial skills. I predict we will be reading about her trials within a few years.

As a result, I am left with no other alternative but (for the first time in 30 years) to call it a tie at the top. Kristen will be sending you $10,000 from our Foundation to be added to the $15,000, which is the endowed scholarship annual amount. Please deliver $5,000 to each of these exceptional human beings, and each will receive a plaque from us indicating that they are the Terry M. Giles Honor Scholar.

I hope the administration at the Law School will not view this as a lack of courage on my part not to just “select a winner.” The truth is that every year this task is tough—but this year it was impossible.

Please forward a copy of this e-mail to each of the candidates and extend to them my congratulations on their outstanding law school careers. It was my pleasure to meet and get to know each of them.

With warmest regards,