Notre Dame Black Law Students Association holds 50th alumni reunion

2023 Blsa Natalie Wight Crowd
U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon Natalie Wight ’03 J.D., recipient of BLSA’s Alvin J. McKenna Alumnus of the Year Award for 2023, speaks March 25 in McKenna Hall. Photos by Casey Patrick/University of Notre Dame.

The Notre Dame Black Law Students Association held its Spring Alumni Weekend 50th Reunion on March 23-26. The weekend included an alumni panel discussion, awards banquet, and black-tie gala, among other activities.

“Our 50th Alumni Reunion Weekend truly celebrated BLSA’s extensive legacy here at Notre Dame,” said BLSA President Jakim Aaron, a second-year law student. “From the panel discussion to the awards gala, I felt immensely proud and privileged to participate in this extraordinary celebration of our community!”

The Friday night panel discussion, entitled “BLSA Down Through the Years,” looked at the five-decade impact BLSA has made on Notre Dame Law School and beyond.

2023 Blsa Alumni Panel

Panelists included:

  • Hon. Ann Claire Williams ’75 J.D., of counsel at Jones Day and retired judge of U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • Dwight B. King Jr., a faculty member of the Law School’s Kresge Law Library from 1986-2020 and now emeritus associate director for research and instruction
  • Tamara Walker ’00 J.D., owner and attorney, Walker & Associates
  • Braynard (Bobby) Brown ’00, ’06 J.D., institutional investor relations at Grant & Eisenhofer PA and former wide receiver for the Cleveland Browns

The discussion was moderated by Joy Anderson ’15 J.D., associate general counsel at Tenneco.

“We needed something to nurture our souls,” Williams said about the founding of BLSA in 1972. “I think BLSA is one of the key reasons that I survived here.”

Watch the full panel discussion here:

On Saturday, BLSA held its annual awards ceremony and keynote address. The following students, faculty, staff, and alumni received awards.

  • Dwight King Community Service Award: Jamal Wilson, 2L
  • Dean’s Circle Award: Shideya Parrilla, 1L
  • Community Advancement Award: Monica Bell, 3L
  • BLSA Staff Appreciation Awards:
    • Dwight B. King Jr., emeritus associate director for research and instruction
    • Ann Kiley, student services coordinator
  • Rebecca B. Ward Distinguished Alumni Appreciation Award: Adreanne Stuckey ’14 J.D., senior counsel at Duke Energy Corp.
  • Alvin J. McKenna Alumnus of the Year Award: U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon Natalie Wight ’03 J.D.
2023 Blsa Singers

Wight delivered Saturday night’s keynote address.

“I really wanted a strong foundation in my legal skill set. I knew that I would get that here,” Wight said, explaining why she chose to attend Notre Dame Law School. “It really focused on the basics. You were supposed to be a good lawyer first and I knew that afterwards I could specialize in whatever I wanted to do.”

View Wight’s remarks as well as the award presentations in the video below.

BLSA’s executive committee for the 2023-24 academic year was also named at Saturday night’s award banquet.

Learn more about the Notre Dame Black Law Students Association at

Originally published by Jonathan Bailey at on April 19, 2023.