Torero Tidbits: Distinguished Law Alumni; Men's Hoops Preview; Politics in Higher Education; Paralegal Program

2020 School of Law Distinguished Alumni AwardsThe USD School of Law will honor two Distinguished Alumni Award winners, two Rising Star Alumni and will announce the inaugural Distinguished Alumni Endowed Scholarship winner on Nov. 13.

School of Law to Honor Distinguished, Rising Star Alumni on Nov. 13

The University of San Diego’s School of Law will host its first-ever virtual presentation of its traditional Distinguished Alumni Awards event with a 90-minute livestream program to air on YouTube at noon this Friday, Nov. 13.

The 2020 Distinguished Alumni Award honorees are Steven J. Cologne ’84 (JD), who is the managing partner for Higgs Fletcher & Mack, LLP, and Kimberly M. Koro ’86 (JD), who is the senior vice president for Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and is the division president for Qualcomm Government Technologies.

The School of Law will fete a pair of 2020 Rising Star Recent Alumni Award honorees in Ben J. Coughlan ’12 (JD), co-founder and partner for Coughlan & Vinel LLP, and Joy Utomi Hartmann ’11 (JD), deputy attorney general for the Office of the Attorney General with the California Department of Justice.

Furthermore, a current student, Robert “Robbie” Ponce ’21 (JD) is the recipient of the inaugural Distinguished Alumni Award’s Endowed Scholarship. This honor will be presented by Todd F. Stevens ’88 (JD).

The event will open with welcome remarks from ceremony emcee Megan L. Donohue ’09 (JD), who is president of the USD Law Alumni Association Board of Directors, USD President James T. Harris III, DEd, Vice President and Provost Gail F. Baker, PhD, and Interim Dean and Professor of Law Margaret A. Dalton ’94 (JD).

Registration for this year’s event is complimentary, but it is our hope that attendees consider making a donation to the Distinguished Alumni Award Scholarship Fund, which benefits USD law students who exemplify the ideals of excellence in the ethical practice of law – in all areas of practice and industry.

Also, the School of Law will have a virtual photo booth available for honorees, family members, colleagues and guests to celebrate achievement and take a picture. Suggested dress code is business casual and guests are encouraged to wear USD Blue. To view the virtual photo booth instructions and more information about the program, visit the Law Alumni Relations event website.

Men’s Basketball Virtual Season Preview Event on Nov. 14

Calling all USD men’s basketball alumni and supporters. A virtual connection event regarding the 2020-21 Toreros is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 14 from 12-1 p.m. via Zoom (register to obtain the link) with Head Coach Sam Scholl ’02.

The program will include meeting the 2020-21 team members, hear an update from Coach Scholl and to review the upcoming basketball season and fan experience.

For more information about this opportunity, please email Kelsi Dantu ’19, development assistant for USD Athletics at

Virtual Program, Nov. 17: Political Conformity in Higher Education

America is becoming increasingly politically polarized, and higher education is no exception to this trend. Over the last 30 years, university faculties have grown increasingly liberal, and the number of faculty who identify as conservative has plummeted. This imbalance is especially pronounced in the social sciences and the humanities, the two areas where political ideology plays the largest role in the curriculum.

On Tuesday, Nov. 17 from 11 a.m. to noon, Professor Matt Zwolinski, PhD, will give a talk on Zoom, discussing why this political polarization should be a matter of concern for anyone, regardless of where they fall on the political spectrum, and what steps can be taken to promote a more open and diverse intellectual environment.

Zwolinski, PhD, specializes in political philosophy and applied ethics. He is the director of USD’s Center for Ethics, Economics, and Public Policy, director of USD’s undergraduate minor in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, and co-director of USD’s Institute for Law and Philosophy.

There is no charge to attend this virtual program, but donations to USD’S Center for Ethics, Economics, and Public Policy are appreciated!

Free Virtual Info Sessions for USD’s Paralegal Program, Nov. 14, Dec. 1

If you are thinking about starting a career in law, attend a virtual information session with USD’s dedicated Paralegal Program staff to learn more about the profession and our ABA-approved certificate — all from the convenience of your mobile device!

There are two more virtual info sessions scheduled in 2020, on Saturday, Nov. 14 from 9-10 a.m. Pacific and on Tuesday, Dec. 1 from noon to 1 p.m. Pacific. This event is open to the public.

Graduates of the USD School of Law ABA-Approved Paralegal Program go on to a dynamic and exciting profession demonstrating relevant skills and becoming valuable members of legal teams in law firms, banks, corporations, government agencies, and more.

For more information, email the program at or call (619) 260-4579.

— Compiled by Ryan T. Blystone