UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Penn State Law in University Park inducted 20 third-year law students into the Woolsack Honor Society during a ceremony on March 22, 2022. The honor society recognizes students who place in the top 15 percent of their class following the fifth or sixth semester of study.
This year’s inductees are Grace Canfield, Joseph deGeneres, Daniel Dicce, Diego Garcia, Julia Gentile, Ashleigh Herrin, Micaela Hyams, Michael Ingrassia, Stephen Johansen, Michael Konen, Shannon Leininger, Nicholas Martiniano, Garvey McKee, Emory Robertson, Conor Shea, Corinne Smith, Kirstyn Watson, Sierra Zellner, Andrew Zerby, and Jesse Zilinski.
“As a community, we are thrilled to come together to celebrate our 2022 Woolsack Honor Society inductees,” said James W. Houck, interim dean of Penn State Law in University Park and the School of International Affairs. “Woolsack is a mark of excellence, and the fact that these students have earned this achievement during the extraordinary circumstances of the past two years is a sign of their resilience and perseverance.”
The students will receive a Woolsack Honor Society notation on their transcript and will be listed in Penn State Law’s 2022 commencement program. Membership in the honor society is lifelong.
“I am extraordinarily proud of these high-achieving law students,” said Jill Engle, associate dean for academic affairs and professor of clinical law at Penn State Law. “They have completed law school during a global pandemic, which is remarkable in itself, but they have also accomplished our highest academic distinction. It is wonderful to be able to honor the fruits of their hard work with this recognition.”
Each inductee took a few minutes during the ceremony to offer thanks to those who helped them reach this milestone—including many family members and loved ones who joined the ceremony remotely, along with Penn State Law faculty and staff, to celebrate the students.
“I am so incredibly grateful to my friends and the Penn State Law faculty for helping me achieve this honor,” said Shannon Leininger, a Class of 2022 J.D. candidate who will be working for the Wyoming Attorney General's Office, Water and Natural Resources Division, next year. “When I was young, I never believed that I would be graduating law school with this distinction. It has been a difficult journey but a rewarding one. I'd like to give special thanks to Professors Lara Fowler, Jud Mathews, Jeffrey Erickson, and Jamison Colburn.”
The Penn State Law Woolsack Honor Society was founded in 1920 to recognize students who have distinguished themselves academically. The Woolsack is a symbol of excellence borrowed from the British legal tradition; the name is derived from the large, wool-stuffed red cushion that has served as a seat for high-ranking British Parliament officers since the fourteenth century.