The Goodall Distinguished Alumna/us Award
Each year the school bestows the Goodall Distinguished Alumna/us Award upon an alumna or alumnus of CPS, Hillsdale, Lotspeich, or The Seven Hills School who has achieved distinction in a public or private career or service that betters the lives of others. The Goodall Award is the highest honor given by the school to our graduates.
2020 Goodall Award Recipient Kalpana Kotagal ’95 Addresses Class of 2020 at Virtual Graduation
Kalpana Kotagal graduated from Seven Hills in 1995. She attended Stanford University, from which she graduated with honors in 1999. While at Stanford, she was one of 75 college students nationwide to be awarded a Morris K. Udall Scholarship. Kotagal earned her J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where she was a James Wilson Fellow. After law school, she served as clerk to the Hon. Betty Binns Fletcher of the United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Kotagal is a partner at Cohen Milstein, practicing in the firm’s Civil Rights & Employment practice group in its Washington, D.C. office. She specializes in plaintiff-side class action lawsuits, representing victims of discrimination across all industries. Kotagal also chairs the firm’s Hiring and Diversity Committee. She was named a Rising Star in 2017 and an Employment MVP in 2018 by Law360.
Kotagal is the co-author of the “Inclusion Rider,” which was brought to the world’s attention by actress Frances McDormand during her 2018 Best Actress Oscar acceptance speech. Among her previous cases, she represented Wal-Mart employees in the landmark United States Supreme Court case Dukes vs. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. Currently, Kotagal represents a class of approximately 69,000 female sales employees nationwide in a sex discrimination and Equal Pay Act case against a large chain of jewelry stores, Sterling Jewelers, Inc. She has dedicated her career to advancing fairness in the workplace and giving voice to those in need of defense.
On Friday, June 5, 2020, Kotagal addressed the Class of 2020 during their virtual graduation celebration, sharing words of wisdom on the importance of resiliency and the ability Seven Hills graduates have to effect change. In her remarks, she shared the following wish for the graduates of the class of 2020: “I hope that you’ll take your Seven Hills education and the privilege conveyed with it to be part of rebuilding a world that–to borrow from one of our nation’s founding documents–is more perfect. More perfect. Imagine something different: communities at all levels of our society that have empathy as a core value, as an operating principle, consistently and structurally. Do that on a personal level, or on a grand scale, or anywhere in between, and you will be a credit to Seven Hills and the community of alumni that you now join.”
Nominate an Alumnus/a
The award was established at Graduation 1977 on the occasion of Norma Martin Goodall’s retirement, after years of loyal and distinguished service. The first award was given in 1978. Nominees must have graduated in 1998 or before 1998.