University at Buffalo Law Student Receives 8th Annual Promise Prize

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Vikki L. Pryor, SBLI USA President and CEO, Honors Student in Memory of her Grandmother

University at Buffalo Law School alumna, and Promise Prize creator, Vikki Pryor, recently facilitated the eighth annual Marie Nesbitt Promise Prize award to Miles Gresham, a second-year law student at UB Law, at the Minority Bar Association of Western New York’s 27th Annual Awards and Scholarship Dinner.

A native of Buffalo, born of parents who instilled in him the importance of a solid education, Miles Gresham, currently in the top 15 percent of his class, is no stranger to sacrifice or to success. This success is evidenced by his long history of achievement. Before attending law school at University at Buffalo, Gresham attended Howard University where he received his B.A. in History and was awarded Howard’s Legacy and History scholarships. Gresham said of receiving the Promise Prize, “Our survival as African Americans has always depended on a cycle of a few rising up and then reaching back to lift up our brothers and sisters. I am deeply humbled and honored that Ms. Pryor has reached back for me, and I look forward, one day, to reaching back for another.”

The $5,000 Promise Prize is granted annually to a first-year UB Law student who has demonstrated exceptional academic achievement and professional promise. Pryor created the award in 2002 in memory of her grandmother, Marie Nesbitt, a great-granddaughter of slaves whose formal education stopped at the third grade. Nesbitt was a woman of strong opinions and deeply held principles who inspired everyone with whom she came in contact. In keeping with Marie Nesbitt’s influence, the award is given to foster a legacy of giving in support of young people working to achieve their dreams.

Of his own dreams, values and desire to give back, Gresham credits his parents, both University at Buffalo alumni. It was his tutoring experience at resource-challenged Cardozo High School in Washington DC, though, that defined his cause. Gresham said, “I have come to understand that there are tragic causes and results that hold so many young people back from pursuing their educational goals. It is my mission to champion change for every student out there who is held back, not for lack of effort or excellence, but for lack resources and understanding.”

Among Pryor’s numerous achievements, she was recently named by Crain’s New York Business as One of the 50 Most Powerful Women in New York, and is the 2009 recipient of the UB Law Distinguished Alumni Award. She serves as the president and CEO of SBLI USA Mutual Life Insurance Company, Inc., and has led a diverse workforce of over 200 employees since 1999 in an effort to provide affordable and accessible life insurance to “the people who make America work.”

More about SBLI USA/S.USA:
SBLI USA markets a wide range of life insurance products to value-conscious consumers and diverse markets. The Company is dedicated to the financial education and empowerment of individuals and families nationwide, providing them with the necessary educational tools to allow them to take control of their financial destinies.

SBLI USA and its subsidiaries are licensed in 49 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico with offices in Buffalo, Chicago, Los Angeles, Newark, New York and Puerto Rico. With almost $15 billion of insurance in force, $1.4 billion in assets, $111 million in surplus capital, 200 associates and nearly 300,000 policyholders, the company is committed to offering affordable, flexible and easy-to-access products through a variety of integrated channels, including direct mail, telemarketing, a bilingual Web site, licensed agents, and new Customer Centers,

SBLI USA Mutual Life Insurance Company, Inc. is the parent company to SBLI USA Holdings, Inc., which owns subsidiary companies S.USA Life Insurance Company, Inc., and SBLI USA Diversified Services Company, Inc. For more information call 1.866.SBLI-USA or go to or .

More about the University at Buffalo Law School:
Since its founding in 1887, UB Law School has established an excellent reputation and is widely regarded as a leader in legal education. Its curriculum provides both a strong theoretical foundation and the practical tools graduates need to succeed in a competitive marketplace, with a special emphasis on interdisciplinary studies, public service, and opportunities for hands-on clinical education. Each student has the opportunity to craft a custom-made curriculum, beyond the selected concentrations, drawing from numerous offerings to build a personalized sequence of courses and experiences. The school has a very low student-faculty ratio. Currently, more than 75 percent of its upper division courses are comprised of fewer than 40 students. Many of the 50 faculty members are nationally prominent and hold advanced degrees in the social sciences and other disciplines, in addition to their law degrees. Their scholarship is published widely, and they bring a wealth of practice and policy experience to UB Law.


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