College Columns May 2018 - Page 10

Fellows Reflect on Their College Induction

Denise M. Neary, The Federal Judicial Center

of personal and professional excellence; we asked three of the new Fellows to share their impressions of that evening.

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Judge Patrick Flatley, Bankruptcy Judge for the Northern District of West Virginia, notes:

Not unsurprisingly, my mind haphazardly wondered through a quick succession of thoughts

and images – the impressive venue; the unexpected presence of so many judicial colleagues; the sterling accomplishments of the Distinguished Service Award winner, Judge Perris, and her mesmerizing introduction by Judge Houser; and my nagging feeling of inadequacy in the company of so many high achievers, including my fellow inductees. Beyond my astonishment at becoming a fellow of the College, my thoughts were fixed upon the members of my family and friends who had gathered from near and far to observe the occasion and celebrate with me. And, in that regard, my mind most especially drifted to my late wife, Rose, who could not be with us.

Rose died of a brain tumor in June 2016. She was my companion in life from age 16 until her death at 61. She was my anchor and inspiration; the person I most admired and loved. In every way

possible, any success I have known is due to her and any recognition without her to share in seems muted. Yet, being in the company of so many folks that evening who knew her intimately evoked her presence in way I could never have elicited alone. Their presence, for which I shall be eternally grateful, made the induction ceremony an event not of personal achievement but of collective memory and joy; all made possible by Rose whose unearthly presence was felt more acutely in her absence and by the unbreakable bonds we share with her still. I could not have asked for more...

Bankruptcy Judge Erithe Smith of the Central District of California recalls:

What I enjoyed most about the induction ceremony was just being there and being embraced so warmly by the Fellows of

the American College of Bankruptcy. I have long admired the College for what it stands for -- professional excellence and service to the bankruptcy community -- but have never harbored any lofty ideas about actually being invited to join such an august group. Or, to put it more sensationally, I have always viewed the organization as one populated by insolvency "rock stars." So to find myself in the elegant setting of the Smithsonian Portraiture Museum seated with twenty-eight other inductees, all in our black tie best, was one of the greatest thrills of my career. A truly goose-bump worthy moment. As one of those rock stars, Judge Elizabeth Perris, took the stage to accept her well-deserved Distinguished Service Award, I reflected on our days together on the 9th Circuit BAP and how much I had learned from her during that experience. I also reflected, with a touch of sadness, on how proud my late mother, Gladys Smith, would have been to see me receive this extraordinary honor. She has been my rock, anchor, hero, inspiration and biggest cheerleader my entire life. However, the sadness quickly dissipated when I remembered that the vote on


On Friday, March 16, 2018, the American College of Bankruptcy inducted its 29th Class of Fellows at the beautiful National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC.

Each of the new fellows was there as a reflection