Notre Dame Law School’s Hispanic Law Students Association recently honored Justice Jesse G. Reyes with the 2017-2018 Graciela Olivarez Award. The award is named for Graciela Olivarez, the first woman and first Latina graduate from Notre Dame Law School.
HLSA presents the award to an outstanding lawyer or judge each year who exemplifies the pioneering ideals set forth by Olivarez as well as a strong commitment to their community and the preservation of justice.
Nell Jessup Newton, the Joseph A. Matson Dean of Notre Dame Law School, gave the welcoming remarks at the ceremony April 19 in Eck Commons. Ashley Pileika and Daniela Peinado, co-presidents of HLSA, spoke about the association’s selection process for determining the individual who they believed best upheld the mission begun by Olivarez both through life accomplishments and dedication to service.
Professor Jimmy Gurulé introduced Justice Reyes as the 2017-2018 recipient, Justice Reyes followed with his acceptance speech. Justice Reyes serves on the First District Illinois Appellate Court as a Presiding Justice of the Fifth Division. A pioneer in the same spirit as Olivarez, Justice Reyes is the first Latino judge to be elected to the Illinois Appellate Court. Justice Reyes also serves as the president of the Diversity Scholarship Foundation, a foundation focused on advancing diversity in the Chicago legal community, particularly through providing scholarships to diverse and deserving law students throughout the state of Illinois.
His name will be added to the placard underneath a photograph of Olivarez in Biolchini Hall of Law. The placard bears the list of all past recipients of the award.