April 21, 2010

ILR School names Groat and Alpern award winners

Three ILR School graduates received the school's top awards April 20 in New York City.

Laurie Berke-Weiss '71 and Seth Harris '83 each received the Judge William Groat Award. Seth "Yossi" Siegel '74, J.D. '78, received the Alpern Award at ILR's Celebration 2010 event at the Pierre Hotel.

The recipients were chosen for their contributions to ILR and Cornell and their professional success. "They typify the very best of what ILR stands for," said Harry Katz, ILR's Kenneth F. Kahn Dean and Jack Sheinkman Professor.

Berke-Weiss represents businesses, partnerships, not-for-profit corporations and individuals in connection with commercial disputes and transactions, employment issues and personal concerns.

She appears before federal and state courts and government agencies on litigated matters including breach of contract claims, noncompetition agreements, partnership disputes, sexual harassment and other complaints of employment discrimination.

A past president of the ILR Alumni Association, Berke-Weiss is a member of the Cornell University Council and the President's Council of Cornell Women.

Harris is deputy secretary of labor, the second highest position in the U.S. Department of Labor. During the Clinton administration, his policy-advising positions included counselor to the secretary of labor and acting assistant secretary of labor for policy.

Harris joined the New York Law School faculty, his law alma mater, in 2000 and continued there until his appointment by President Barack Obama to the labor department post. Harris focuses his scholarship on the economics of labor and employment law with a particular focus on the employment provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Siegel was a co-founder and co-chairman of the Beanstalk Group. In 2006, to devote himself to not-for-profit and other business opportunities while still remaining active at the company, he restructured his position and became vice chairman.

A leader in the licensing industry for nearly 30 years, Siegel has advised many Fortune 500 companies in the use of their trademarks, trade dress and copyrights.

Siegel was a producer of the Tony Award-nominated Broadway revival of "Man of La Mancha" and an associate producer of the Emmy Award-winning ABC-TV mini-series "Dinotopia."

He has served as chairman of Cornell Hillel and sits on the Cornell University Council and the ILR Advisory Council.

Mary Catt is the ILR School's staff writer.