From left: Tyler Mlakar, Madison Miller, Collin Heard and professor Alex Nunn.
As part of a long-standing tradition, the U of A School of Law will present four student elected awards at the commencement ceremony on May 14. Each award honors members of the law school community who have excelled in a particular area of endeavor. The awards are endowed, or are funded by, benefactors with important ties to the School of Law.
Lewis E. Epley Jr. Professor of the Year Award
Professor Alex Nunn received the Lewis E. Epley Jr. Professor of the Year Award for Excellence in Teaching. This is awarded to a faculty member voted professor of the year by the graduating class. Nunn has received the award from graduating classes since 2020.
“I’m immensely honored to be named Professor of the Year,” Nunn said. “This graduating class is such a special group. More than any other class, their law school experience was disrupted by the pandemic. But every time I taught them — whether online or back in person — they brought an amazing amount of energy and enthusiasm to the classroom. Put simply, they made teaching fun. I’m so humbled and grateful to learn that my classes resonated with them.”
Tyler Mlakar received the Bogle-Sharp Award. This is awarded to the student voted by their peers as most likely to succeed in the practice of law.
It was established in memory of Brinkley law partners, Arkansas Bar Association President William Wilson Sharp and Arkansas Lieutenant Governor G. Otis Bogle.
“My classmates here at the School of Law are some of the smartest, most talented, salt of the earth folks I have ever had the privilege of meeting,” Mlakar said. “They are tenacious, hard-working and inspiring. We went through the rigors of law school during a global pandemic, and yet, I would argue that we are still one of the most distinguished classes to graduate from this institution. I can say now, with no doubts whatsoever, that all my classmates will one day become the next great leaders of not only this state, but this nation. And so, it is for these reasons that I am so deeply honored, and truly humbled, that they chose me as this year’s recipient of the Bogle Sharp Award. I would not be where I am today without their inspiration and support. Wooo Pig Forever.”
Outstanding Contribution Award
Madison Miller received the Outstanding Contribution to the Law School Community Award. This is awarded to the student voted by their peers for exceptional positive contributions and service to the School of Law community.
“Receiving this award is both incredibly humbling and a huge honor,” Miller said. “I think so highly of each and every one of my classmates, and they have continuously exceeded all expectations I had for what law school classmates would be like. I had no clue what an impactful experience law school would be or the immense opportunities it would present for growth in every area of my life. My advice to everyone, regardless of what environment you are in, is to get involved in any way you can. Meet and talk to every person you can. Involvement is the best way to make a difference in your community. Pushing yourself to do more will show you exactly how much you are truly capable of, and you will seldom regret taking a chance to grow and better yourself. Thank you, Arkansas Law, for three unforgettable years.”
Delivering Student Commencement Address
Collin Heard was elected by his peers to deliver the student commencement address.
“Among the many honors and achievements of my life, to be selected to give the commencement speech by my peers ranks among the top,” Heard said.
Heard came to the law school for a J.D. after studying criminal justice at the University of North Texas. At the law school, Heard was a mentor for the Dean’s Fellow Mentorship Program, was named the Board of Advocates Negotiation Competition Champion last year and is the current vice president of two student organizations — the Black Law Student Association and the Sports and Entertainment Law Society.
Heard has a wide spectrum of professional experience. He worked for Allied Universal Security Services, Allen Law Firm in Dallas, Randall Law Firm in Springdale, the Office of the U of A General Counsel and the U.S. Army as a civilian intern. Currently, he works at Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani in Dallas, Texas.
About the School of Law: The law school offers a competitive J.D. as well as an advanced LL.M. program, which are taught by nationally recognized faculty. The school offers unique opportunities for students to participate in pro bono work, externships, live client clinics, competitions, and food and agriculture initiatives. The school strives to identify, discuss, and challenge issues of race, color, ethnicity, and the impact(s) they have on students, faculty, and staff members in an effort to achieve a diverse, inclusive, and equitable community. From admitting the Six Pioneers who were the first African American students to attend law school in the South without a court order to graduating governors, judges, prosecutors, and faculty who went on to become President of the United States and Secretary of State, the law school has a rich history and culture. Follows us at @uarklaw.