NIU Law hosts Minority Alumni Reception

Swen Parson HallThe Northern Illinois University College of Law recently held its 11th Annual Minority Alumni Reception.

Dean Jennifer Rosato and alumnus Vincent Cornelius (’89) hosted more than 100 students, alumni, faculty, judges and political leaders from the Chicago area.

The Feb. 19 reception included special presentations honoring Chicago’s 21st Ward Alderman Howard B. Brookins Jr. (’88) and NIU Law professor Leona Green.

Cornelius – a 1989 NIU Law alumnus, sole practitioner with offices in Wheaton and Joliet and third vice president of the Illinois State Bar Association – has hosted the Minority Reception since its inception and has watched it continue to grow each year.

He presented Brookins with the Excellence in Service and Leadership Award, honoring his exceptional leadership, distinguished record as a public servant, and being a fighter for justice.

Brookins’ extensive background includes service as an assistant public defender, assistant state’s attorney and special assistant attorney general, and partner with the law firm of Brookins and Wilson. He is also active on numerous community boards and organizations.

Alderman Brookins was elected to represent the 21st Ward in in April 2003 and is currently serving his second term in office.

Pictured (from left) are Vincent F. Cornelius (’89), 21st Ward Alderman Howard B. Brookins Jr. (’88), Dean Jennifer Rosato, Professor Leona Green, and 2nd Ward Alderman Bob Fioretti (’78).
Pictured (from left) are Vincent F. Cornelius (’89), 21st Ward Alderman Howard B. Brookins Jr. (’88), Dean Jennifer Rosato, Professor Leona Green, and 2nd Ward Alderman Bob Fioretti (’78).

Dean Rosato honored Green for her commitment to students, service to the law school and being a champion of diversity throughout her career. Professor Green was the first, and is currently the longest-tenured, African-American professor at the College of Law.

Having joined the faculty in 1991, she has taught state and local government, alternative dispute resolution and employment discrimination. She was the faculty adviser for the Black Law Student Association for many years. Prior to NIU, she worked for the City of Chicago and in private practice.

She has served as a pro bono organizer and volunteer at the Center for Conflict Resolution, and treasurer of an organization that fosters child adoptions. Professor Green also received a touching tribute from one of her former students and mentee, the Honorable Carmen Goodman (’95) from Will County.

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