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Chessicks award ‘Bridge to the Bar’ scholarships

May 2, 2012

Five third-year students from the NIU College of Law have been selected as the first-ever recipients of the Kenneth and Ellen Chessick Bridge to the Bar Scholarship.

The students are Nareman Abdallah of Rochelle, Jeffrey Brown of Morris, Alia Choudhury of Carol Stream, Sania Merchant of DeKalb and Corey Sealy of Oak Park.

Each will receive $5,000 to defer living expenses for the next several months as they devote their full attention to preparations for the Illinois Bar Exam.

From left: Sania Merchant, Alia Choudhury, Kenneth C. Chessick (’84), Ellen Chessick, Nareman Abdallah, Jeffrey Brown and Corey Sealy.

From left: Sania Merchant, Alia Choudhury, Kenneth C. Chessick (’84), Ellen Chessick, Nareman Abdallah, Jeffrey Brown and Corey Sealy.

“The committee was very impressed by the submissions of all of the applicants,” said Dean Jennifer Rosato. “The applications were inspiring, and they reflect on the dedication of our law students and their strong desire to succeed on the Bar exam.”

Speaking on behalf of the recipients, Brown said, “Dr. Chessick represents everything that we should all strive to be as lawyers and members of society. To be chosen for an award bearing his name truly fills me with a great deal of humility and graciousness.”

Ellen and Kenneth Chessick

Ellen and Kenneth Chessick

Kenneth Chessick, a 1984 alumnus of the law school, and his wife Ellen, have been generous supporters of NIU and the NIU College of Law for many years.

In 2004, their gift allowed for the creation of the Kenneth C. Chessick Legal Training Skills Center. In 2007, they created the Kenneth C. Chessick Civil Justice Endowed Scholarship Program, which currently funds five $25,000 endowed awards named for his clients who were victims of medical negligence.

Most recently, the Chessicks pledged $3 million to NIU Intercollegiate Athletics to name the Kenneth and Ellen Chessick Practice Facility. This gift is the largest ever made to Northern Illinois Athletics and the second-largest gift ever to the university.

Dr. Chessick is a member the NIU Law Board of Visitors as well as the NIU Foundation Board of Directors. In 2001, he was named the Distinguished Alumnus of the Year.

With successful careers in both the medical and legal profession, Dr. Chessick concentrates his legal practice in medical and hospital negligence and personal injury.

Ellen Chessick’s volunteer service to NIU includes co-chairing the NIU Foundation’s Red & Black gala.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Illinois at Chicago and has an MBA in finance from DePaul University. She is an independent investment manager and a member of the board of directors of