Old Friends, New Arrivals


Charlotte Gazzaniga, Michael Gazzaniga and Justice Rena K. Uviller '62 reunite for the first time since the justice performed the Gazzanigas' marriage in 1982.

Reunion 2012 was all about meeting up with old friends—and some of the meetings were unexpected pleasures.

New York Supreme Court Justice Rena K. Uviller ’62, for example, attended her 50th reunion only to discover that she not only had met one of the speakers, but that she had performed his marriage ceremony, as well.

Michael Gazzaniga, a distinguished neurobiologist and author, attended Reunion 2012 to speak on brain science and legal responsibility. But while working at the State University of New York at Stony Brook in 1982, Gazzaniga was introduced to Uviller by a colleague. Uviller officiated at the wedding of Gazzaniga and his wife, Charlotte, during a ceremony held in her chambers, then joined the pair for a celebratory lunch. Uviller and Gazzaniga had a reunion of their own, more than 30 years later, at the June 8 Columbia Law School event.

To complete the circle of coincidences, Uviller’s husband was the late H. Richard Uviller, who served as Arthur Levitt Professor of Law at the Law School and was one of the nation’s foremost authorities on criminal procedure and evidence, subjects that would be profoundly affected by the discoveries Gazzaniga shared during his June 8 talk.


Patrice Jean '02 with her son Darren Jerome "D.J." Collins Jr., who just couldn't wait to be part of Reunion 2012.

Patrice Jean ’02 was eager to attend Reunion 2012—but maybe not as eager as her young son, D.J.

As a committee member, Jean was closely involved in organizing this year's events. But her Reunion plans went a little off schedule back in October, when she went into labor while attending a Reunion leadership cocktail reception at the Metropolitan Club in Manhattan. She left the reception in a hurry, but on June 8 Jean returned to the Reunion 2012 family luncheon with Darren Jerome “D.J.” Collins, Jr., who was born on October 28, 2011.

At the time of the reception, the baby was not due to arrive until November 11, so Jean says she felt compelled to attend because she knew she would miss the following month’s Reunion co-chair training due to the impending birth. “If I didn’t feel well, I would come home,” Jean says she told her husband Darren.

With classmates Jennifer L. Kronick Shapiro ’02, and Diahann J. Billings-Burford ’02 for support, Jean made a beeline from the reception to Lenox Hill Hospital. Dressed in evening attire, the group received quizzical looks from the nursing staff as they arrived. “We were all freaking out,” Jean recalls. “We kept saying, ‘This is why pregnant women shouldn’t be going to cocktail parties!’”

At 9:31 p.m., Jean gave birth to Darren Jerome “D.J.” Collins, Jr. He weighed in at 6 pounds, 15 ounces—a very big baby boy at five weeks early.

“It was wonderful [when we arrived home] because there was a Columbia baby bib waiting for me,” Jean says, recalling the gift sent by the Law School’s Reunion staff. Adding to the happy news, Jean learned later that month that she had made a partner at Kenyon & Kenyon, LLP, where she specializes in patent law.

D.J. and his mother were warmly received at the June 2012 Reunion event, along with D.J.'s older sister Scarlett Jean and his father, Darren, Sr. D.J. proudly wore his Columbia Law School bib to the family luncheon. Jean says friends joked about the baby’s sudden arrival and “teased D.J. about how he wanted to go to law school and just couldn’t wait.”