Six individuals were honored by the Washburn University School of Law Alumni Association Board of Governors Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016, for outstanding service to their profession, community, and to Washburn University School of Law.
“Washburn Law is a world-class institution that has, for decades, trained lawyers to pursue justice,” said James Slattery, B.S., '70, J.D., '74, chair, Board of Governors. “This year’s award recipients represent the very best of Washburn Law. Each of these individuals, in his or her own field, has had an outstanding career and served as mentors, advisors, and supporters of the law school. We are pleased to honor them this year as outstanding alumni and friends of Washburn Law.”
The Distinguished Service award is bestowed on graduates of Washburn Law who have distinguished themselves and brought recognition to the school through their service to the law school, the legal profession, their community, or public service. This year’s recipient is Lynette Petty, J.D., '87, Topeka. Petty joined the Washburn Law faculty in 1992 and dedicated her career to the Washburn Law Clinic, focusing on social security disability, family law, juvenile law, and immigration. Throughout her career, she provided pro bono legal services to low-income clients
Three individuals were given the Lifetime Achievement award in recognition of their distinguished careers, achievements, contributions to the legal profession. Earl Hatcher, J.D., '23, Honorary Doctor of Law, '69, received the award posthumously for his career as a member of the Washburn Law faculty and later as a Court reporter for the Kansas Supreme Court for 11 years.
The Honorable J. Thomas Marten, B.A. '73, J.D. '76, Wichita, was appointed to the bench in 1996, and appointed Chief Judge of the District of Kansas in 2014. After serving as law clerk to retired Associate Justice Tom C. Clark of the United States Supreme Court, he spent 19 years practicing law in Nebraska, Minnesota, and Kansas, including 14 years as a member of Bremyer & Wise, P.A. in McPherson, Kan.
Frank Ross, Jr., J.D., '78, Kansas City, Mo., is chair of the Polsinelli law firm’s Business Department and has led the department’s growth from 30 attorneys in 1998 to more than 375 professionals in 2016, serving clients across the nation. He also served on the Washburn University School of Law Alumni Association Board of Governors.
Two individuals received the Honorary Life Membership award. Cynthia Heath, B.A., '71, J.D. Washington University, St. Louis, serves as vice president for executive compensation at Emerson Electric, St. Louis. She met her late husband, David Heath, B.A., ’70, and J.D., ’76, at Washburn. Heath has served as a Washburn University Foundation Trustee since 2007 and as a director since 2009. She received the Alumni Association's 2013 Monroe Award and was inducted into the Washburn Hall of Fame in 2013.
The Honorable Edward Larson, J.D., '60, the University of Kansas School of Law, Lawrence, Kan, practiced law and served as a municipal judge in Hays, Kan., after graduating from law school. In 1987, he was appointed to the Kansas Court of Appeals and then tapped for the Kansas Supreme Court in 1995. He retired in 2002. Larson has worked with Washburn Law’s Oil and Gas Law Center since its inception and has taught the Mineral Title Examination course for many years.
“This year’s award recipients are truly outstanding members of the Washburn Law family,” said Thomas Romig, dean, Washburn University School of Law. “We are honored to recognize their commitment to the law school, their profession, and their communities.”