Bolatito “Tito” Morolake Adetula ’24 is the inaugural winner of the Yvonne L. Smith Award. This award recognizes a graduating student who has demonstrated an exemplary dedication to supporting other students throughout their time at Harvard Law School. Adetula was recognized for her unmatched commitment to mentoring and advising students, and for her longstanding efforts to building a more supportive, inclusive environment at Harvard Law.

This new student award was named in honor of Yvonne Smith who retired last year after serving for 46 years at Harvard Law School, including 35 years as the administrator of the Board of Student Advisers. Smith, whose work managing the Ames Moot Court Competition impacted the lives of generations of students, was a much-loved staff member who students sought out for wisdom and guidance.

In his introduction of the award during the Class Day ceremony, Harvard Law School Dean of Students Stephen Bell ’10 honored Smith, saying: “Yvonne helped students get the best out of themselves and others. Through her thoughtful advising and mentoring, she demonstrated leadership, sharp judgment, compassion and integrity. And because of her efforts, thousands of Harvard Law students learned more, found more belonging in our community, mentored others, and developed as future lawyers and leaders.”

Described as “a role model and a support system for so many people,” Adetula served as president of the Board of Student Advisers (BSA), a student-led support organization of more than 40 second- and third-year students who serve as mentors and guides to first-year students, and as teaching assistants, with Climenko Fellows, in the First Year Legal Research & Writing Program. The BSA also administers the Ames Moot Court competition and 1L Ames Moot Court program.

As BSA president, Adetula demonstrated exemplary leadership and advocacy skills, and actively encouraged students to form meaningful relationships with their professors, and explore their passions and interests while at law school.

“From her first moments on the HLS campus through to today, Tito has committed herself to mentoring and lifting up her fellow students and advisees,” wrote one nominator. “As a BSA president, she has been a tireless advocate for her students, helping them both hone their research and writing skills and also bring balance to their busy lives as 1Ls.”

As a teaching fellow for multiple courses across multiple disciplines, Adetula supported students in the Cyberlaw Clinic with Professor Chris Bavitz, and in the Family Law and Constitutional Law classes of Professor Jeanne Suk Gersen ’02.

“When I think of Tito, I glow with pride,” said Gersen. “She is an extraordinary student, a respected leader, and a trusted advisor to many including me! I cannot wait to see the great things she will contribute to our society.” 

All of Adetula’s nominators noted the countless hours she dedicated to meeting with students whenever they needed support, whether it be personal, professional, or school related.

“Regardless of how you know Tito, you are lucky to have her in your life,” wrote one nominator. “She makes the people around her feel special, and that’s an enormous gift.”

During her time at HLS, Adetula was involved in important roles in Harvard’s Black Law Students Association, serving as the BLSA Social and Cultural Affairs co-chair, where she planned and coordinated a number of events, including a ski trip, charity gala, boat cruise, and ice skating trip, among others. She was also involved the African Law Association, and the Harvard Law School Soccer team.

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Celebrating the Class of 2024!

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