Thomas Jefferson School of Law’s Center for Law and Social Justice has created an award to recognize student efforts in social justice after receiving an endowment in memory of alumnus Samuel Kossack.
Kossack’s family and friends have donated generously to fund an award to recognize a currently enrolled Thomas Jefferson School of Law student who, through his or her own actions, promotes social justice either on an individual basis or by transforming systems that perpetuate injustice. Recipients must demonstrate contributions to social justice through participation in activities such as volunteer work, relevant scholarship, advocacy of social justice, the law school’s pro bono program, clinical courses, self-help clinics, or other work that directly serves the needs of marginalized or disadvantaged populations. One cash award will be given annually.
Sam Kossack was a beacon for social justice. One law professor described him as a man “with sharp intelligence as he worked tirelessly to educate others about possible solutions. He cared passionately about social justice and had a talent for bringing people together to explore some of the most contentious legal issues facing society.”
Those who knew him well thought of him as exceptionally loving and compassionate; always advocating fairness among his peers. He demonstrated a lifelong commitment to social justice. As a high school representative from Anytown, Arizona, Kossack participated in a leadership forum that fostered inclusion and respect among all members of society. He was an active member of GLAD through high school and college and politically active in college for candidates supporting social justice.
Kossack continued to champion social justice causes while maintaining honors student status at Thomas Jefferson School of Law. He was active in La Raza, an organization providing free or low-cost, bilingual, culturally-sensitive legal aid, community education and advocacy for low-income residents of California. He created and led a panel presentation for the San Diego community regarding homeless issues. He represented the Law School at a national workers’ rights conference. Kossack was a founding member of the School’s Labor and Employment Law Association, also serving as vice president and president. Somehow, he also found time for extensive volunteer work while attending law school: providing legal assistance to veterans at the Veterans' Clinic, assisting homeless individuals with their legal issues, and interning with the public defender's office.
In these and many more ways his friends and family believe he “walked the walk” by tirelessly striving to help those less fortunate achieve equity and dignity. His efforts provide a model for generations of students. The Sam Kossack Social Justice Award will keep his spirit alive and inspire other students to act on behalf of and to improve the life of others.
Additional contributions to the endowment in honor of Sam Kossack can be made by going to www.tjsl.edu/make-gift.