Dayton Law Honors Alumni and Friends at Alumni Weekend

06.01.2014 | Law
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The University of Dayton School of Law Alumni Association honored members of the law school community with special awards during this year’s Alumni Weekend, June 6 and 7.  

This year’s Distinguished Alumni was Kermit F. Lowery '84, Vice President and Assistant General Counsel, LexisNexis.  

Charles J. Faruki, a partner at Faruki Ireland & Cox, P.L.L., received the 2014 Honorable Walter H. Rice Honorary Alumni Award.

William L. Jennewein ’86, who serves as Vice President and Trust Officer of Park National, received the Steven E. Yuhas Alumni Special Service Award.

The Francis J. Conte Special Service Award was presented posthumously to Kathy Lee Ellison ’79.

The 2013 Honorable Walter H. Rice Honorary Alumni Award was also awarded at this year’s event to Professor Emeritus Richard Saphire, who was out of the country during alumni weekend 2013. 

Kermit F. Lowery ’84: Distinguished Alumni Award

Kermit Lowery was selected due to his exceptional service to the legal community, both as a civilian and military officer.  Lowery received a direct commission as an Army JAG Corps officer after graduating from the School of Law and spent a total of 39 years combined active and reserve military duty. He is currently employed as Vice President and Assistant General Counsel for LexisNexis and is responsible for licensing content to be included in their online services.

Dean Paul McGreal presented the award saying, “Volunteering is a part of Kermit’s life.  He recently completed his term as President of the Greater Dayton Volunteer Lawyers Project, where he devoted his time to handling mostly domestic cases, and would handle 10 – 20 cases per year.  He also participates in our Law and Leadership Institute here at the Law School, where 8th grade through high school aged students come to learn about the law.  He encourages them to attend college and become inspiring community leaders.”

Lowery has also participated in the Wills for Heroes program that writes wills for police and firemen.  He has served as Second Vice President on the Board of Trustees for the Dayton Bar Association (DBA) and is the Board Liaison for the Juvenile and Law & Technology committees.  He will become President of the Dayton Bar Association in 2015. 

It was also announced that the American Bar Association has selected Lowery for the 2014 Pro Bono Publico Award.  Each year the ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service presents five awards to individual lawyers and institutions in the legal profession that have demonstrated outstanding commitment to volunteer legal services for the poor and disadvantaged.  Lowery will be honored for his service at the annual ABA meeting in Boston in August.

McGreal said, “Kermit is a wonderful example of what the University of Dayton and the School of Law stand for, to learn, lead and serve.  He is an example of what our alumni have given through their talent and time to the community.  It is my honor to present Kermit Lowery with the Distinguished Alumni Award.”

The Distinguished Alumni Award is presented each year to a Dayton Law graduate who reflects the school’s values of professional integrity and community service through achievements of exceptional merit, honor and influence.    

Charles J. Faruki: 2014 Honorable Walter H. Rice Honorary Alumni Award

Charlie Faruki is a long-time advocate and adjunct of the University of Dayton School of Law. He has numerous achievements in the Dayton community and spent many hours teaching the intricacies of anti-trust to Law School students.

Faruki was selected as one of the Most Influential People in Greater Dayton, one of only three lawyers on the list.  He was named one of the Top Ten Lawyers in Ohio in 2013 and was on the “Dayton’s Most Powerful” list, based on a survey of Dayton-area CEO’s and other community leaders conducted by the Dayton Business Journal. 

A Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, Faruki also belongs to the Litigation Counsel of America, the American Bar Foundation, the Ohio Bar Foundation and the Dayton Bar Foundation.  He is a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates, past president of the Dayton Bar Association and of the Dayton Chapter of the Federal Bar Association.  

Faruki is a past president of the School of Law’s Advisory Council. He is also the author of numerous articles published in law reviews and professional journals, has spoken many times at continuing legal education programs and educational seminars for businesses. 

Faruki was named one of the Best Lawyers in America. Dean Paul McGreal said, “We are grateful to have such a wonderful representative of the legal profession to help our law students achieve their goals.”

The Honorable Walter H. Rice Honorary Alumni Award is presented each year to an individual who is not a graduate of Dayton Law, but who represents the ideals of the school through exemplary achievement. This award recognizes significant contributions to the legal profession, the community and the School of Law.  

Professor Emeritus Richard Saphire: 2013 Honorable Walter H. Rice Honorary Alumni Award

“It is my pleasure to announce the 2013 winner of this Award, who represents the ideals of the Law School through his exemplary achievement and significant contributions to the legal profession, the community and the School of Law, is Professor Emeritus, Richard Saphire,” said Dean Paul McGreal. Due to scheduling conflicts, Saphire was unable to attend the 2013 Alumni Weekend event but was presented the award at the 2014 dinner.

Professor Saphire joined the faculty in 1976, after receiving his law degree from Oklahoma City University School of Law and completing his LLM at Harvard Law School.  He taught Constitutional Law, Federal Jurisdiction and courses in Civil Rights Law, and Religion and the Law.  He was always interested in student-related activities and served as faculty advisor for the Law Review and was active in Moot Court. 

Saphire’s dedication to civil rights resonates as he served as a member of the Board of Directors of the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio.  For over 25 years, he has served as a cooperating attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union and has been involved in an extensive variety of legal matters, all of which have been pro bono.  He has been trial and appellate counsel in a number of voting rights cases and is a member of the ACLU voting rights litigation team, participating in litigation at all levels of the federal court system, including amicus curiae in the United States Supreme Court.  He received the Service Award from the ACLU of Ohio.

In addition to his numerous contributions to the University of Dayton School of Law, he is active in the Miami Valley community.  For over 20 years, he has served as a member of the Board of Directors of Homefull, Inc., a full-service agency that addresses the problem of homelessness.  He is a member of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Dayton where he has been involved in public advocacy and educational efforts.

McGreal stated, “It is my honor tonight to present this Award to Richard Saphire for his many years of legal service to the poor and homeless and for his dedication to the civil rights of all of us.”

William L. Jennewein ’86: Steven E. Yuhas Alumni Special Service Award

Bill Jennewein is a cum laude graduate of the University of Dayton.  He has an LLM in Taxation from Villanova University School of Law, and an LLM in Banking Law Studies from Boston University School of Law.

Jennewein is currently employed as the Vice President and Trust Officer of Park National Bank working in estate planning and specializing in estate taxes.  Prior to joining Park National Bank in 2013, he worked with PNC Wealth Management for 4 years and before that was employed by the IRS for 18 years.   While at the IRS, he served as a National Office attorney advisor overseeing the selection of estate tax returns for the nationwide examination program.

Jennewein serves on the CET Planned Giving Committee of Cincinnati.  This organization is Greater Cincinnati’s leading provider of education and enrichment, in both living rooms and classrooms through PBS, reaching more than 2 million residents, 470,000 students and 37,000 teachers.  He assists donors with creating a legacy through the CET. He also serves the Planned Giving Committee for the Cincinnati Freestore Foodbank, which provides assistance to almost 290,000 people.  He helps donors with their contributions through their estate planning.

Jennewein is an active member of the University of Dayton School of Law Advisory Council and for the last 15 years, he has been a mentor with the Cincinnati Youth Collaborative.

The Steven E. Yuhas Alumni Special Service Award recognizes a graduate of the Law School for their extraordinary service and contributions to the Alumni Association, the School of Law and its students, and the community.

Kathy Lee Ellison ’79: Francis J. Conte Special Service Award

The Francis J. Conte Special Service Award recognizes an individual’s extraordinary community service, as reflected in the school’s Catholic, Marianist values, and support for the School of Law through donations of time, talent or financial assistance. This award is not reserved for alumni, but may be given to anyone who supports the School of Law.  

It is with great honor that this year’s award is presented, posthumously, to Kathy Lee Ellison ’79, who lost her battle with breast cancer in January.

Dean Paul McGreal said, “Kathy’s career and her contributions to assisting the underserved truly exemplifies the Marianist mission as she was assisting the poor, caring about her clients, putting purpose before money and notoriety.  She was a sole practitioner who provided affordable legal services to working-class families in Dayton for over a third of a century.”

Jeffrey Swillinger of Taft Law wrote in 2009, “Kathy joined a ‘team’ of attorneys assisting the underserved at a monthly free law clinic located at the Wesley Community Center in West Dayton.  Long after she should have stayed at home as her illness overcame her best efforts to continue on, and even when she had a brace on her neck due the pervasiveness of the cancer and could hardly speak, she was there in body, mind and spirit.  She was an essential contributor to helping those who could not help themselves, until the bitter end.

Ellison was profiled in Judith Ezekiel’s 2002 book, Feminism in the Heartland.  This careful documentation shows the ways in which the entire progressive community benefitted from foundations laid by the Dayton Women’s Liberation of which Ellison was a founding activist in the 1970’s.  She was active in Girl Scouting, the Dayton Jewish Film Festival, fair housing, preservation of the SunWatch Indian Village & Archaeological Park, as well as LUNAFEST, which is a festival of short films by, for and about women and other progressive causes.

Her good friend, Dalma Grandjean ’77, offered brief remarks regarding Ellison’s nomination. Phil Hinrichs, Ellison’s partner and caregiver, accepted the award on behalf of her daughter, Lindsay Meck of New York City.

For more information, contact Denise Baker, assistant director of communications at the University of Dayton School of Law, at 937-229-3342 or