On Thursday, March 31, 2022, Baylor Law held its annual awards ceremony to honor outstanding student accomplishments during the past year. The John William and Florence Dean Minton Student Awards Ceremony and Lecture Series celebrates those Baylor Law students who excel both in and out of the classroom. Baylor Law honored students for excellence in academics, advocacy, work on the Baylor Law Review, and pro bono and public service at the ceremony.
The ceremony is named in honor of John William Minton and Florence Dean Minton. Their daughter, the late Polly Minton McLeRoy of Sherman, Texas, established and endowed the lecture series in 1993 to honor her parents. Later, McLeRoy’s son, William McLeRoy, endorsed the concept of the lecture being the setting for a student awards ceremony, given that Mrs. McLeRoy, an educator by profession, always upheld education as a gateway to a life of significance and impact.
“It is an absolute privilege for me and my faculty and staff colleagues to pause for a moment every year to honor our students for their outstanding efforts, their academic achievement, and their contributions to Baylor Law, the legal profession, and the central Texas community,” stated Dean Brad Toben. “Each of these students should be incredibly proud of their accomplishments.”
Judge Vikram “Vik” Deivanayagam, J.D. ’96, of the McLennan County Court at Law in Waco, addressed more than 200 students, faculty, staff, and guests who attended the ceremony at the Barfield Drawing Room in the Bill Daniel Student Union Building on the Baylor University campus. Judge Vik, an adjunct professor of law and coach for Baylor Law’s Interscholastic Client Counseling team, graduated magna cum laude from the University of Memphis with a B.B.A. in Finance in 1993. Following his graduation from Baylor Law in 1996, he entered private practice with the Law Offices of Rod Goble, where he became a partner in 2000. He assumed the bench of the McLennan County Court at Law in 2017. Judge Vik also presides over the DWI/Drug Court, a specialty court with the mission to improve public safety by decreasing DWI and drug-related offenses. A committed husband and father of three children, he is also involved in several community activities and is a member of numerous local civic organizations.
Judge Vik spoke to the hundreds of students, faculty, and friends gathered about the importance of resilience, endurance, and dedication to a purpose. During his presentation, he reminded students that they didn’t come to Baylor Law to be perfect law students. They came to train and become lawyers, and that they each had a reason for wanting to practice law. He told students, “Think about your ‘why.’ Why are you doing this? That’s not always an easy question to answer.” After also reminding students of the importance of finding satisfaction in service and living a life of intention, he ended by reminding them, “it’s important to live your life with intention.”
For more than 25 years, the student award ceremony and lecture series has featured engaging speakers and inspiring visionaries whose keynote addresses have encouraged thousands of Baylor Law students. Previous speakers include the Honorable Kay Bailey Hutchison, United States Senator; Noley Bice, retired General Counsel for Baylor University; the Honorable Ed Kinkeade, Federal Judge for the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas; and the honorable Ann Richards, governor of the State of Texas, among others.
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ABOUT BAYLOR LAW
Established in 1857, Baylor University School of Law was one of the first law schools in Texas and one of the first west of the Mississippi River. Accredited by the American Bar Association and a member of the Association of American Law Schools, Baylor Law has more than 7,600 living alumni and a record of producing outstanding lawyers, many of whom decide upon a career in public service. The Law School boasts among its notable alumni two governors, members or former members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, two former directors of the FBI, U.S. ambassadors, federal judges, justices of the Texas Supreme Court and members of the Texas Legislature. In its law specialties rankings, U.S. News & World Report ranks Baylor Law’s trial advocacy program as among the best in the nation at No. 2, while the Law School is ranked in the Top 50 of the 2021 edition of “Best Graduate Schools.” The National Jurist ranks Baylor Law as one of the “Best School for Practical Training,” and in the top 15 “Best Law School Facilities” in the country. The Business Insider places Baylor Law among the top 50 law schools in the nation. Baylor Law received the 2015 American Bar Association Pro Bono Publico Award, making it only the third law school in the nation to be honored with the award since the award’s inception in 1984. Learn more at baylor.edu/law
ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 17,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions. Learn more at baylor.edu