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Honorable Walter H. Rice Honorary Alumni Award

Honorable Walter H. Rice Honorary Alumni Award

Recipients of the Honorable Walter H. Rice Honorary Alumni Award demonstrate extraordinary commitment to their community, profession and the School of Law. Honorary alumni are nominated by School of Law graduates.

  • Click here to learn more about recipients from 2000-2010.
  • Click here to learn more about recipients prior to 2000.

Gregory G. Palmer ’78, 2022 Recipient

A 1978 University of Dayton accounting graduate, Gregory Palmer has always exhibited a tremendous commitment to his community, profession and the University of Dayton, including its School of Law. 

After attaining his CPA, he earned his law degree from the University of Chicago in 1983. Palmer’s background in business and finance were essential to his success in the legal profession. He actively practiced law for several years, retiring from McDermott Will & Emery, LLP in Chicago where he often advised clients on corporate organization and restructuring, mergers and acquisitions, international taxation, pass-through entities and tax accounting.

He established himself as an expert on taxation, speaking and writing on the topic from an international, federal, state and local perspective. Clients could also trust him to represent them in IRS examinations, with IRS appeals, in matters before the IRS National Office and in tax litigation.

In addition, Palmer was one of five lawyers on the inaugural advisory council of Lawyers Without Borders Inc., the U.S.-based, rule-of-law advocacy group. The council strives to connect the non-profit group to the private practice community.

Gregory Palmer, and his wife, Denise, are loyal supporters of UD and its law school. Greg has served on the Law Advisory Council since 2003, assisting with the transition of three deans. The couple has created student scholarships through legacy giving and hosted events to support UD leadership. The Palmers have also offered additional help through UD’s Student Crisis Fund, established for COVID relief and been champions of One Day, One Dayton efforts. 

Currently, they also give generously of their time and expertise - as Greg is a leader on the University’s comprehensive fundraising campaign cabinet and Denise serves as a Trustee. 

Hon. Mary Wiseman, 2020 Recipient

Judge Wiseman was appointed to the General Division bench of the Montgomery County Common Pleas Court in 2007. She serves as the court’s Technology Committee Chair.

Judge Wiseman received her B.S. from Ball State University in 1984 and her J.D. with honors from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in 1988.

Prior to her judicial service, Judge Wiseman practiced complex civil litigation in state and federal courts nationwide. She has taught at the University of Dayton School of Law and Sinclair Community College. She served on the Dayton City Commission from 1998-2002.

Judge Wiseman has also served as President of the Dayton Bar Association and the Carl D. Kessler Inn of Court.

Dale E. Creech, 2017 Recipient

Mr. Dale E. Creech, Jr. serves as the Chief Legal Officer and Vice President of MedAmerica Health Systems Corp., Premier Health Partners and Samaritan Health Partners. Mr. Creech was responsible for all legal, risk management, and insurance issues for the PHP family of companies, including corporate, tax, real estate, employment, medical staff, antitrust, mergers, joint ventures, and litigation.

Mr. Creech has an extensive health law background, having represented hospitals and physicians since 1978. He served as the President of Ohio Society of Healthcare Attorneys. He is a Member of the Ohio, Federal, and U.S. Supreme Courts, the American Bar Association, the American Health Lawyers Association and the Ohio Society of Healthcare Attorneys.

Dale has served as an adjunct professor at UDSL and has been a great supporter of the law school. He consistently mentors UDSL graduates, through externship experiences and employment of UDSL graduates.

Professor Richard Perna, 2016 Recipient

Professor Richard Perna is a living example of the Marianist mission of scholarship, leadership and service. For almost thirty-five years, Perna has been a teacher, mentor and leader in the University of Dayton School of Law community. Perna joined the University of Dayton School of Law faculty in 1982. He was the director of the law clinic for five years and previously served as associate dean for academic affairs from 1992-1998 and from 2007-2011, for a total term of 10 years during his tenure.

Perna’s dedication to the legal community extends beyond the walls of Keller Hall. He recently served as president of the Dayton Bar Association, having been elected to that position by his peers in the greater Dayton legal community because of his vision and leadership. Perna’s commitment to pro bono work is evident from his work at Community Legal Services in Philadelphia prior to arriving in Dayton, and through his work as clinical supervisor at Dayton Law, as well as through his involvement with the Greater Dayton Volunteer Lawyer’s Project.

Merle F. Wilberding, 2015 Recipient

Merle F. Wilberding has more than thirty-five years experience advising and representing clients in the areas of business planning, non-profit organizations, real estate law, taxation, shopping center law, and zoning. This experience affords his clients a unique, skillful, and practical management of matters ranging from general corporate legal and strategic business management issues to complex reorganizations involving asset sales, public and private financing, and spin-offs.

He has represented a wide range of corporations (both for profit and not-for-profit corporations), developers, and religious organizations located both within and outside of the United States. He has served as chairman and general counsel for the Greater Dayton Foreign Trade Zone, Inc. He has a broad range of legal and business experience, and is an active adviser and board member to a variety of businesses and community non-profit organizations.

Charles J. Faruki, 2014 Recipient

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.”

Professor Emeritus Richard Saphire, 2013 Recipient

“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.  He 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.”

Bruce Snyder, 2012 Recipient

Bruce Snyder is a member of the law school’s Advisory Council, trustee of the Hubert A. and Gladys C. Estabrook Charitable Trust and former managing partner of Porter Wright. He provided instrumental support during the Keller Hall building campaign, and the student lounge in Keller Hall is named in honor of Porter Wright.  

In addition, under Snyder’s leadership, Porter Wright and the Estabrook Trust have supported the school’s Program in Law and Technology and its Scholarly Symposia Series on Current Issues in Intellectual Property Law, which brings prominent speakers to campus several times a year. In 2011, Porter Wright, through the Estabrook Trust, established a scholarship to support students in the School of Law’s Program in Law and Technology.  

As an attorney, Snyder represents management in the field of labor and employment law and state fund and self-insured employers in workers’ compensation matters, including violation of specific safety requirement claims and workplace intentional tort claims. He also has experience in the defense of civil rights claims.  

His volunteer contributions include serving on the boards of the Miami Valley Hospital Health Foundation, the Oakwood High School Athletic Boosters Association and the City of Oakwood Personnel Appeals Board.  

Snyder received his J.D. from The Ohio State University College of Law and his B.A. from Yale University. 

Helenka Marculewicz, 2011 Recipient

Helenka Marculewicz has served as executive director of the Greater Dayton Volunteer Lawyers Project since it was founded in 1988. The Volunteer Lawyers Project provides service to more than 1,600 cases a year, thanks to the work of a staff of three and more than 900 volunteering attorneys. Marculewicz considers what she does as volunteer administration. She received a B.S. in sociology and education from Boston University in 1967.

In his remarks, Judge Rice said that Marculewicz has "set the gold standard" for mobilizing attorneys to provide access to justice for those who otherwise would not have legal representation. Marculewicz and the Volunteer Lawyers Project, Rice said, remind lawyers and judges "why we went to law school in the first place."


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