Sydney Veatch ’24 is the recipient of this year’s Westfall Memorial Award, which recognizes a student or students with outstanding contributions to creating community within their first-year section and class. The award is named after the late Professor David Westfall ’50, who taught at Harvard Law School for more than 50 years and served as an inaugural faculty leader for a first-year section.

Veatch was recognized by numerous nominators for going above and beyond to foster an environment of support, collaboration, and goodwill among her classmates in Section 3.

In his introduction, Harvard Law School Dean of Students Stephen Ball ’10 noted that Section 3 “treasured” Veatch’s efforts to build community, particularly as students returned to on-campus classes after the COVID pandemic.

Within the first week of classes, Veatch created a comprehensive master tracker of reading assignments for the semester and shared it with the entire section. Several nominators praised her impressive efforts, describing the color-coded tracker as easy-to-use and a valued tool for creating a “shared sense of purpose and community.”

Ball also noted that her nominators praised her for lifting others up “with kindness, thoughtfulness and altruism.” Around Halloween during her first year of law school, she came in early before class began and left handwritten notes on each desk “with encouraging and positive messages to provide a lift during a stressful time.” When the holidays approached, she organized a drive to buy gifts for children in need, and a party for section members to bring and wrap their gifts. “It was a great way for our section to work together to bring joy to others and exemplified the caring community she worked hard to foster.”

And Veatch did all these things, “without ever holding a position on the section committee. She believed in Section 3,” one classmate wrote, “and I believe that it allowed for many types of bonds to be formed,” one classmate wrote.

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