The Syracuse University College of Law Alumni of Color Awards are presented on behalf of the Syracuse University Law Alumni Association (SULAA) Inclusion Network and the College of Law to celebrate the distinguished achievements in any field of endeavor by living members of the Syracuse law family—alumni, current and former faculty and staff, students, parents, and friends–for service ‎to the College of Law, the legal profession, Syracuse University, or the world ‎at large.

The Awards

BLSA William Herbert Johnson Legacy Award 

The BLSA William Herbert Johnson Legacy Award is named in honor of Mr. William Herbert Johnson, the first African American graduate of the College of Law.  The award is granted to an outstanding individual or organization who in the course of their career or endeavors has been a trailblazer and achieved excellence in the areas of legal service, legal education, and/or social justice. Recipients have made extraordinary contributions to the legal profession, legal education, the legal system, or social justice through activism, leadership in diversity and equality, support and mentorship to colleagues, students, and members of the community.   

José Bahamonde-González L’92 Legacy Award

The José Bahamonde-González L’92 Legacy Award (formerly the LALSA Legacy Award) recognizes Syracuse University College of Law alumni and alumnae who have made significant contributions to the community and have achieved, through their professional career, excellence, and recognition in their fields. This award also celebrates and recognizes the dedicated efforts that members of the Latin American community and other members from these countries of origin have made in overcoming the underrepresentation of Latinas/os/x in the legal field. Their hard work serves as an inspiration to the College of Law’s new students, staff, and faculty to continue educating and working towards excellence as well as recognizing their continued work with current and future lawyers. The award is given in the honor of LALSA Legacy Award recipient José Bahamonde-González who passed away in 2022.

Asian Pacific Islander (API) Legacy of Excellence Award

The Asian Pacific Islander (API) Legacy of Excellence Award recognizes Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander alumni of the College of Law who have 1) demonstrated service to the API community or valuable representation of the API community; 2) achieved distinguished accomplishment in their chosen field; and 3) empowered and inspired the API community through their mentorship or work they do.  This award is co-sponsored by the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association, Korean Law Students Association, and South Asian Law Students Association.

Through these awards, the Syracuse University Law Alumni Association Inclusion Network and the College of Law celebrate diversity and demonstrate a true appreciation of our alumni’s unique gifts and, as such, we seek to enhance the building of a community that genuinely values diversity. 

Criteria & Nominations

Award Criteria

  • Service to the community, local, nationwide and/or international—The recipient has demonstrated commitment to service of underrepresented minorities or others in their field of work as well as through their volunteer efforts. 
  • Accomplishment in their chosen field—The recipient has demonstrated integrity and excellence while developing expertise in their chosen field(s).
  • Empowering members of the community—The recipient has provided mentorship opportunities and/or assisted in the development of new lawyers thereby positively impacting the expectations of clients and other individuals in the community. 

Nomination Process

The Syracuse University Law Alumni Association Inclusion Network seeks nominations from alumni, the College of Law community, and friends identifying deserving members of our community to honor. We hope you will take a moment to share the names and stories of candidates, and we would be delighted to read about their accomplishments—articles, testimonials, or other forms of supporting information and documentation are welcome. Nominations are collected through our online nomination form, or by email at If you’re nominating by email, please include the following information:

  • Candidate’s name
  • Candidate’s address and current contact information
  • Candidate’s connection to the College of Law and graduation year, if a graduate
  • Candidate’s background and education
  • A statement of reasons why you believe this candidate is deserving of recognition by the College of Law, providing as much detail as possible, including a description of achievement(s) that merit recognition
  • Any supporting information (articles, testimonials, other recommendations, statements by other nominators)
  • Your name and contact information, as to be contacted by SULAA representatives with questions or to request further information

Nominations are now OPEN! Please feel free to submit nominations to be considered for 2023. The award ceremony will be held during Law Alumni Weekend on Friday, September 22.

Nominations are reviewed by the SULAA Inclusion Network Awards Committee, and at their recommendation, honorees are selected by the Dean and the SULAA Inclusion Network.

Awards Ceremony

Award recipients are honored at an awards ceremony during the College of Law’s Syracuse Law Alumni Weekend each fall, and they also will be invited to interact with students, faculty, and friends of the College in classes, lectures, or symposia in connection with the weekend.

2022 Recipients

2022 Alumni of Color Awards Recipients Staci Dennis-Taylor L’14, Scott de la Vega L’94, and Tanuja Dehne L’98.

Past Recipients


2021 Alumni of Color Awards Recipients


2020 Alumni of Color Awards Recipients


2019 Alumni of Color Awards Recpients: The Hon. Theodore McKee L’75 (center) received the Black Law
Students Association William Herbert Johnson L’1903 Legacy Award. Judge McKee is flanked by Alex
Galvez L’07 (left) and José Perez L’07, who received the LALSA Legacy Award from the Latin American
Law Students Association.