(Boston, Revised 04/07/10) New England Law | Boston: Associate Dean Susan Calamare has received the 2010 Peter N. Kutulakis Award, given by the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) to recognize outstanding service to students. Each year, the award is presented to one institution or individual at the AALS annual meeting in January.
“During her more than 30 years at New England Law | Boston, Sue has exhibited a remarkable dedication to students,” Dean John F. O’Brien wrote in his letter of recommendation. “She has helped shape the law school’s policies relating to students in substantial ways, and her assistance, accessibility, and advocacy have improved the law school experiences of many individual students.”
One beneficiary of Dean Calamare’s efforts is Heather Yoselow, a 2008 cum laude graduate with multiple disabilities who uses a wheelchair, is unable to write, and is profoundly hearing-impaired. In a letter to the AALS, Ms. Yoselow described Dean Calamare as “a vital and instrumental component in my success” in law school.
Ms. Yoselow had previously attended other law schools where her needs were not met. “Dean Calamare’s skill, caring, understanding, and determination have allowed me to complete my legal education,” she wrote. “She ensured I would be on equal footing with able-bodied students.”
Dean Calamare was assistant dean of students from 1991 to 2007. She has worked at New England Law since 1978, serving as director of financial aid, acting director of admissions, and registrar.
“Sue has stood up for students whom no one else thought to champion,” Associate Dean Judith G. Greenberg said. “She will go to the ends of the earth for individual students with special circumstances who need someone with influence to navigate the system for them. At the same time, she constantly reviews our administrative structures to identify ways that we can make them more student-friendly. Her extensive administrative experience at New England Law has put her in an excellent position to restructure our procedures when necessary, and she has used her authority to do that.”
Many of the improvements in the law school’s administrative procedures in recent years were the result of Dean Calamare’s initiative and determination. Two areas that bear her imprint are class scheduling and the first-semester final exam schedule.
“She brought the students’ perspective to the process of scheduling classes,” Dean O’Brien said. “Sue took into consideration what courses students interested in specific careers would want and need to study. She considered the order in which courses should be taken and made sure that schedules allowed for such routine but important concerns as sufficient lunch breaks. She also overcame objections and persuaded the school to schedule first-semester final exams before the winter break, giving students a genuine ‘break’ from studies that allowed them to enjoy their families during the holidays and to return to second-semester classes refreshed.”
Dean Calamare has also assisted legions of individual students, obtaining appropriate administrative flexibility when it was warranted. She has been particularly responsive to evening students, who often balance school, work, and families. In one case, she advocated for a single working mother in the evening division who had been diagnosed with breast cancer, arranging a revised schedule and other adjustments to enable her to continue her studies while undergoing chemotherapy. This graduate is currently a partner in a successful law firm.
The award was established in 2002 in memory of Associate Dean Peter N. Kutulakis of Penn State’s Dickinson School of Law.