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Erica Lowenthal, Class of 2010, Organizes Relay for Life to Honor Her Father

May 27, 2010 – 
Once Erica Lowenthal is awarded her diploma from Rutgers School of Law–Newark on May 28, she’ll have even less of a break before hunkering down to study for the bar exam than will most graduating law students. A week after walking across the stage of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center to receive her juris doctorate hood, Lowenthal will be in Essex County’s Brookdale Park overseeing a Relay for Life in honor of her father.

Erica and Lee Lowenthal   
Erica Lowenthal ’10 and Lee Lowenthal ’13 at the kick-offevent for the Montclair Relay for Life.
Lowenthal and her brother, Lee, signed up for their first Relay for Life two years ago after their father was diagnosed with an especially aggressive type of cancer. Dr. Hank Lowenthal, a popular Montclair-area internist, died before the event, making the siblings’ participation a particularly moving experience.

“While I loved being a part of the Hoboken Relay,” says Lowenthal, “I kept thinking that it would be so much more meaningful to me, my family, and my friends who were mourning with me if we had this in a community that not only did we all know and love, but that also knew and loved my dad. My dad was born and raised in Montclair and practiced medicine there for nearly 30 years; my brother and I were born and raised in Montclair. It would be a perfect fit.”

Last fall the Lowenthals decided that they would organize Montclair, New Jersey’s first-ever Relay for Life, the American Cancer Society’s major fundraising event. The Relay will take place from 7 pm on Friday, June 4, and end the next morning at 7 am. Following a well-established format, teams of volunteers will walk around Brookdale Park, with each team asked to have at least one member on the track throughout the event.

As chairwoman, Lowenthal has devoted countless hours to organizing and promoting the event. The American Cancer Society set a goal of 35 teams and $55,000. To date, the Montclair Relay has 40 teams, almost 350 people, and close to $75,000. “Happy to say,” Lowenthal adds, “that two of those teams include Rutgers Law Students! Even through bar review, my law school friends are coming out to show their support!”

With her focus on the Montclair Relay, Lowenthal, who received her B.A. from Emory University, has had little time to reflect on her three years at Rutgers School of Law–Newark or on life after the bar exam. In September she will begin a clerkship with Morris County Superior Court Judge Robert J. Brennan. Beyond that, the one thing she is certain of is that honoring her father and raising money to fight cancer through Relay events will remain a part of her life.

So too will fond memories of the law school. “When I came back for my second year just one week after my dad passed away, I was nervous about not being able to focus and not being surrounded by the comfort of my family and best friends. However, the friends I had only just made at Rutgers were amazing; the support they gave me was astounding. And the administration helped me sign up for classes just days before school began.” As she has with other experiences, Lowenthal has shared those good memories with her brother. In August Lee Lowenthal, a graduate of the University of Wisconsin–Madison, will begin classes as a member of the law school’s Class of 2013.