School of Law Honors Top Three Students, Graduate Award Winners

Taylor Farr, first in class; Jorge Rodriguez, second in class; and Peyton Hildebrand, third in class.

Taylor Farr, first in class; Jorge Rodriguez, second in class; and Peyton Hildebrand, third in class.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The University of Arkansas School of Law faculty and staff congratulate the class of 2020 graduate award winners. Awards include the three students with the top scores in the class along with internal and external acknowledgments of academic excellence, pro bono hours provided while in law school and service to the school and community.

The most prestigious awards of every year are those recognizing overall class rank. Peyton Hildebrand received the academic achievement award for having the third-highest grade point average in the Class of 2020. Jorge Rodriguez was second in class and received the high academic achievement award. Taylor Farr received the outstanding academic achievement award for graduating first in class. 

"It takes hard work, sacrifice and preparation to achieve this level of excellence," said Margaret Sova McCabe, dean of the law school. "Peyton, Jorge and Taylor have consistently applied these approaches to success throughout their law school careers, and they have earned this tremendous honor."

The identities of those at the top of the class are typically held in close confidence until they are announced at the school's Commencement Exercises, held on the Saturday following the All-University Commencement. A Graduate Awards Ceremony is traditionally held on the Friday night before commencement and is followed by a reception for all graduates and their families.

"We would have preferred to honor these students during the school's traditional ceremonies, but we are no less proud of their accomplishments," McCabe said.

Additional 2020 graduate award winners:

  • Hannah Andrews, W. J. Arnold Memorial Award

  • Jaden Atkins, Pro Bono Silver Medallion

  • Evangeline Bacon, Robert F. Fussell Pro Bono Award; Pro Bono Gold Medallion

  • Maria Baez de Hicks, Medico Legal Prize; Pro Bono Gold Medallion

  • Courtney Brooks, Bassett Law Firm Trial Advocacy Prize

  • Mitchell Dowden, Bard Rogan Natural Resource Award

  • Taylor Ellis, American Bankruptcy Institute Medal for Excellence in Bankruptcy Studies

  • Taylor Farr, James H. McKenzie Award - Professional Responsibility and Ethics

  • Katie Hicks, Outstanding Contribution to the Law School Publications Award; Bogle-Sharp Award

  • Tony Jones, Outstanding Contribution to the Law School Community Award; Pro Bono Fellow; Pro Bono Silver Medallion

  • Grace Lee, Pro Bono Silver Medallion

  • Nicholas Linn, Clinical Legal Education Association Outstanding Student

  • Maisie Manuel, Pro Bono Gold Medallion

  • Jared Needham, Craig Sterne Memorial Award — Estate Planning and Taxation

  • Jorge Rodriguez, Joe C. Barrett Commercial Law Award

  • Renee Schuldt, M. Jeff Starling, Jr. Award — Labor and Employment Law

  • Shannon Stroud, T.C. and Rosemary Carlson Memorial Award — Constitutional Law

  • Isabel Thoma — ALI CLE Scholarship and Leadership Award

  • Morgan Woelke — Pro Bono Gold Medallion

  • Sabrina Worsham — Pro Bono Silver Medallion

Portraits of 20 law students honored with awards
Graduate award winners in order listed above, from top left to bottom right.


Darinda Sharp, director of communications
School of Law


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