MACON – Mercer University School of Law honored three distinguished alumni with awards at its sixth annual Alumni Dinner on Feb. 29 in Atlanta. The Hon. Michael P. Boggs, LAW ’90, received the Meritorious Service Award; the Hon. Carl C. Brown, CLA ’70, LAW ’73, received the Outstanding Alumnus Award; and the Hon. Rizza P. O’Connor, BUS ’07, LAW ’10, received the Young Alumni Council Volunteer of the Year Award.
“We are thrilled to honor three very deserving individuals with our 2020 alumni awards. Judge O’Connor, Judge Brown and Justice Boggs demonstrate their commitment to public service and the legal profession by serving on the judiciary at all levels throughout the state of Georgia,” said Dean Cathy Cox, LAW ‘86. “Our annual dinner is our largest alumni event and a wonderful opportunity for our alumni to be together and celebrate the achievements of each other and the Law School as a whole.”
Gov. J. Nathan Deal appointed Boggs to the Supreme Court of Georgia in December 2016. A Waycross native, Boggs has served his local community and state as a state representative, superior court judge and judge for the Court of Appeals of Georgia.
The Meritorious Service Award is presented to an alumnus/alumna or friend of Mercer School of Law who has demonstrated their support of the Alumni Association and the Law School through their contribution of time and gifts.
Boggs continuously gives back to his alma mater as a guest speaker and mentor. He recently endowed a scholarship fund that will give preference to law students who are from rural communities. Boggs will serve as Mercer’s 2020 School of Law commencement speaker.
In 1982, Brown became the first African-American judge in the history of Augusta when he was appointed chief judge of the municipal court. Brown is a U.S. Army veteran and an advocate for justice in his community. He currently serves as chief judge of the Superior Court of the Augusta Judicial Circuit and administrative judge for the Tenth Judicial District.
The Outstanding Alumnus Award is given to a Mercer Law School alumnus/alumna who has served the profession of law in an outstanding manner, and in so doing, has brought honor to themselves and the Law School. The Law School presented Brown with this award for his service and dedication, which have fostered the ideals of the Law School.
In 2013, O’Connor was appointed chief magistrate judge for Toombs County, making her the youngest Asian-American in Georgia to serve as a judge. She is the immediate past president of the Young Lawyers Division of the State Bar of Georgia.
O’Connor is the inaugural recipient of the Young Alumni Council Volunteer of the Year Award for providing valuable service and selfless commitment to enhance the experience of Mercer Law students. Through mentoring young lawyers and frequently serving as a guest speaker for law school programs and classes, she demonstrates the importance of service to the development of future Mercer lawyers.
“What makes Mercer Law special is we have this strong alumni group that keeps ties wherever you may go,” said O’Connor.
About the School of Law
Founded in 1873, Mercer University School of Law is one of the oldest law schools in the United States and the first one in the state of Georgia accredited by the American Bar Association. Mercer Law School’s educational philosophy is based on a broadly shared commitment to prepare students for the high-quality, general practice of law in a day-to-day learning environment that is both strongly supportive and consistently professional. Its innovative Woodruff Curriculum – which focuses on ethics and practical skills amid small class sizes – twice earned the Gambrell Professionalism Award from the ABA for its “depth of excellence.” With an enrollment of about 375 students, Mercer Law School is nationally recognized for its exceptional programs in legal writing, moot court, experiential education, and ethics and professionalism. For more information, visit law.mercer.edu.