January 6, 2010 15:49 Age: 4 yrs

IN MEMORIAM: Coleman 97L Helped Create Miss Jean Award

By: Wendy R. Cromwell

Lori Lynn Coleman 97L

“Lori would make things happen,” says Zahra Karinshak 97L with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Atlanta. “She galvanized people into action.”

Lori Lynn Coleman, supervising county attorney for Brooklyn and Staten Island, died May 23, 2008, from breast cancer. A public servant dedicated to improving the lives of children, she was 46.

“Lori was a passionate leader in our class who made Emory Law a better place, including establishing the Miss Jean award,” Karinshak says.

“Miss Jean was the wonderful snack lady while we were students,” Karinshak says. “One day, Lori asked me if I thought we should have an award in her honor. I said it was a good idea. Next thing I know, it happened.”

The Miss Jean “Angel” Award is presented at graduation and now honors a student who most exemplifies the qualities of Gloria Jean Fowler in helping to create a community at Emory Law.

Creating the award was a no brainer, says David Patton IV 88C, former assistant dean of students at Emory Law. “Once Lori came to us with the idea, we all realized Miss Jean should be recognized for fostering a sense of community at the law school.”

“She and Miss Jean were pretty tight,” says Barry Breitung 97L. “It doesn’t surprise me in the least that Lori was instrumental in getting the award established. It was completely in character for Lori.”

Classmate Janis Gomez Anderson 97L agrees. “Lori would always say you can’t overlook Miss Jean. Lori picked who was important to her because of who they were, not their positions. This was something she shared in common with Miss Jean.”

Although Anderson knew how ill Coleman was, news of her death was a shock. “The world is a less interesting place without her.

“Lori enjoyed life and lived in the moment,” Anderson says. “You could go months without hearing from her, and when you finally connected, you picked up right where you left off.”

“Lori came to law school on a mission and to set an example for the community,” Patton says. “She was extraordinary. She was a nontraditional student who brought her life experiences to the law school and her classmates.”

Coleman was an officer in the Student Bar Association and a member of Legal Association for Women Students, Black Law Students Association and egala, now called OutLaw.

“Lori was open to everyone and moved among all groups,” Breitung says. “We all appreciated it. She didn’t fit in any mold.”

“Lori was bigger than life,” Karinshak says. “She was a person out to change her world while she was here, and she did.”

Survivors include Coleman’s partner, Lori Hannibal; father, Vance Coleman; brothers, Michael and Gary; sister, Michelle; and three nieces and two nephews.

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