Robertson Honored At Jackson Dinner

More than 130 supporters, board members, dignitaries and public officials came together at the Robert H. Jackson Center on Wednesday, July 31, for the 10th annual Jackson Society Dinner.

Master of ceremonies was James C. Johnson, Robert H. Jackson Center president and chief executive officer, who shared center highlights and accomplishments from the past year.

“This has been an extraordinary year for the Jackson Center. It began last August during the sixth annual International Humanitarian Law Dialogs, as the center hosted Fatou Bensouda of the International Criminal Courts and Brenda J. Hollis from the Special Court for Sierra Leone, who tried and convicted the first Head of State at an International Criminal Tribunal since Justice Jackson led the prosecution of the senior Nazi leaders at Nuremberg. Then in October, President Obama signed an act designating the new United States courthouse in Buffalo, N.Y., as ‘The Robert H. Jackson United States Courthouse,'” Johnson said. “And let us not forget the landmark visit by Chief Justice of the United States John G. Roberts Jr. in May, followed by Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s tour of the center which occurred only a few days ago.”

Johnson then introduced Joseph Karb, Jackson Center director of teacher initiatives, to speak about advances made in the center’s Youth Education Initiative.

“Tonight I have the distinct pleasure of introducing the inaugural class of Robert H. Jackson Center teacher fellows,” Karb said.

Recognized as recipients of the 2013 Robert H. Jackson Center Teacher Fellowships were Junie Eimiller, Southwestern High School; James Gang, Hamburg High School; Lynne Kutschke, Pine Valley Central School; and Timothy Redmond, Williamsville East High School.

“These highly accomplished Western New York educators will be working in collaboration with the center to create quality educational materials that can easily be incorporated into classroom curriculum,” Karb said.

Karb also introduced the recipient of the second annual Robert H. Jackson Center Award for Teaching Justice, Walter Robertson III, a history teacher at the Dunkirk City Schools.

“This award is presented to an educator who has made a significant effort to teach the concept of justice in creative, inspiring ways,” Karb said.

Robertson expressed surprise and pleasure at his nomination for the award and credited his family, colleagues and friends for the support they have given through the years.

“Education is the most important tool for fighting poverty. Without literacy skills and a basic education, families cannot overcome social and economic barriers. As teachers we have the opportunity to make a difference every day by giving young people access to the education they need – and deserve – to make better lives for themselves,” Robertson said.

Honored for her 10 years of service to the center was Carol Drake, who retired in June. Johnson then gave special recognition to the center’s board of directors, volunteer docents and interns, whom he declared “make it possible for the center to offer the vast array of programs and events that it does throughout the year.”

Guest speaker for the evening was Larry D. Thompson, executive vice president of government affairs, general counsel and corporate secretary for PepsiCo and former deputy attorney general from 2001-2003. Thompson’s address was peppered with “Jacksonisms,” as he reflected on the various professional positions he has held in both the public and private sectors throughout his career. A question and answer session with Thompson capped the evening.