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 prior to 2000.

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 and Dean Paul McGrealCharlie 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

Professor Emeritus Richard Saphire and Dean Paul McGreal“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.”

The Honorable James A. Brogan, 2000 Recipient

James A. Brogan has served as a judge on the Ohio Second District Court of Appeals since 1980 and has authored more than 2,000 decisions.

A graduate of Notre Dame University, where he received his undergraduate degree, and Georgetown University, where he received his law degree in 1964, Judge Brogan is a Vietnam veteran and retired as a Colonel in the United States Army Reserve. He entered private practice before serving as an assistant county prosecuting attorney in Montgomery County for 11 years. Named Ohio outstanding assistant prosecuting attorney by his colleagues in 1980, Judge Brogan was elected judge of the Ohio Second District Court of Appeals later that year. He was elected chief justice of the Ohio Courts of Appeals Association in 1996 and chaired the Ohio Judicial College in 1998 and 1999.

In addition, Judge Brogan has been an instructor at Sinclair Community College for more than 30 years, teaches at the Dayton Police Academy, and currently serves as an adjunct professor for the University of Dayton School of Law. 

Nicholas Hollenkamp, 2001 Recipient

A partner at Dinsmore & Shohl in Dayton, Nicholas Hollenkamp specializes in corporate law and mergers and acquisitions. A lawyer for 40 years, he is also a master emeritus at the Carl D. Kessler Inn of Court, on the Air Force Museum Foundation Board of Managers and on the St. Joseph's Residential Treatment Center Board of Trustees.

Hollenkamp earned his B.A. from Xavier University and his MBA from Indiana University before graduating with a law degree from the University of Cincinnati in 1964. He became an associate at Turner, Wells, Granzow & Spayd, which later became Turner, Granzow & Hollenkamp, where he was managing partner, before the firm became part of Dinsmore & Shohl.

Always active in the community, Hollenkamp mentors young lawyers inside and outside his firm and is one of the original masters of the Carl D. Kessler Inn of Court. He has volunteered extensively at St. Joseph's Residential Treatment Center, which provides services to severely troubled children, and has been president of the center's Board of Trustees. His service to the community extends to the University of Dayton School of Law. Mr. Hollenkamp started the Baldy Turner Scholarship, the school's largest scholarship at the time, and continues to provide stewardship to it and the rest of the law school.

Judge James Brogan calls Mr. Hollenkamp "one of the top five lawyers in the Dayton legal community," and the School of Law honored Hollenkamp with its Honorary Alumnus Award in 2001.

Ira Mickenberg, 2002 Recipient

Twenty years ago Ira Mickenberg began a close relationship with the University of Dayton School of Law, a community that he still finds rare. With 17 faculty members, 180 students in the incoming class and an office in Albert Emanuel Hall, Mickenberg, a professor of criminal law, joined a faculty that he found to be seriously and genuinely devoted to the teaching of law. Additionally, he found it a pleasure to work with students of exceptional caliber. "I loved working with the students," he said. "I found them smart and really motivated to learn. I've been a visiting professor at other schools, but I really prefer UD students."

In 1987, Mickenberg concluded his term at UDSL and returned to his law practice. He now lives in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., where he represents people who cannot afford legal services and develops training programs for public defenders.

In addition to traveling far and frequently, Mickenberg directs an annual program at UDSL sponsored by the National Legal Aid and Defender Association. "I try to make the conference and my teaching as interactive as possible," he said. Mickenberg still finds time to offer career counseling to UDSL students and maintain close friendships with faculty and staff. He received the Honorary Alumnus Award in 2002.

The Honorable Jeff Froelich, 2003 Recipient

A native Daytonian, Jeff Froelich is administrative judge of the Montgomery County, Ohio, Common Pleas Court and has been an adjunct professor at the University of Dayton School of Law since 1995. With 500 pending cases at a time and papers to slide from one side of the desk to the other, it's easy for a judge's job to become routine, said Judge Froelich. "Teaching forces you to keep current and rethink the issues," he said.

Judge Froelich, who taught criminal law and family law as an assistant professor at UDSL from 1976 to 1980, also served as the first director of the school's Legal Clinic. He later became an assistant Montgomery County prosecutor and a partner in the law firm of Louis & Froelich. He presided in the County District Court for 16 years before elected to his current position in the Court of Common Pleas. Active in the community, Judge Froelich is a member and former president of the Dayton Bar Association, serves on the Montgomery County Judicial Corrections Board, Criminal Justice Council, Montgomery County Juvenile Court Review Board, and has also been involved with the Legal Aid Society of Dayton, Comprehensive Offender Program Effort (COPE), Salvation Army Advisory Board, Alzheimer's Association, and the Temple Israel Board.

Mathias H. Heck Jr., 2004 Recipient

Mathias H. Heck Jr. has served as the Montgomery County, Ohio, prosecuting attorney since 1992. After receiving his B.S. from Marquette University and his J.D. from Georgetown University in 1972, Mr. Heck engaged in private practice at Heck & Heck while serving as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Montgomery County. He held both positions for 20 years before being named prosecuting attorney.

A member of the National District Attorneys Association, Heck is on the Board of Directors and a member of the Executive Committee. He is also an Executive Committee member and past president of the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association, serves as secretary to and is a member on the Board of Regents for the National College of District Attorneys, and is on the National Children's Alliance Board of Directors.

Heck, who was born and raised in Dayton and attended Chaminade High School, continues to be involved in the community. He is on the Montgomery County Law Enforcement Intelligence Committee, on the Advisory Council on Drug Abuse Education and Prevention for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, a member of the LexisNexis Criminal Justice Advisory Board and a member of both the Montgomery County Police Chiefs Association and Miami Valley Crimestoppers.

Professor Allen Sultan, 2005 Recipient

Professor Allen Sultan was the 2005 award recipient.

David Greer, 2006 Recipient

David Greer was the 2006 award recipient.

The Honorable John Kessler, 2007 Recipient

The Honorable John Kessler was the 2007 award recipient.

Lisa Kloppenberg, 2008 Recipient

Lisa Kloppenberg came to the School of Law as dean in 2001. Previously a professor at the University of Oregon School of Law, she is a widely published expert in constitutional law and an advocate of Appropriate Dispute Resolution. As dean she constantly looked toward the future of the School of Law. "We need to continue to build and foster an already strong community," she says.

A First Amendment class at the University of Southern California, where she was an undergraduate journalism major, first attracted Dean Kloppenberg to study law. She saw the important role lawyers have in protecting freedom. She also found law to be intellectually challenging and was drawn to its wide variety of career paths.

After graduating from the University of Southern California Law Center, where she was the editor-in-chief of the Southern California Law Review, Dean Kloppenberg clerked for Judge Dorothy Wright Nelson of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. A mentor to Dean Kloppenberg, Judge Nelson was one of the first females on the U.S. Court of Appeals, one of the first female deans in legal education, and a trailblazer in the ADR field. "We have similar values," Dean Kloppenberg says. "She found decanal work fulfilling and saw the qualities of a successful law dean in me." Dean Kloppenberg is currently working on a biography of Judge Nelson.

Before teaching, Dean Kloppenberg was an attorney with Kaye, Scholer, Fierman, Hays & Handler in Washington, D.C., for four years. She was involved with litigation, arbitration, and mediation of a variety of domestic and international disputes. She served as a pro bono mediator for a federal court and performed pro bono work for a number of public interest organizations including the Guatemala Human Rights Commission, USA.

Dean Kloppenberg then returned to the West Coast to teach at the University of Oregon School of Law. Her interest in constitutional law, which began in her undergraduate years, evolved as a teacher. As she taught classes on civil procedures and federal courts, "constitutional issues kept coming up." She is particularly interested in how courts decide which constitutional issues to address and how they handle those issues.

As a faculty member at the University of Oregon for nearly 10 years, Dean Kloppenberg also founded and directed the school's Appropriate Dispute Resolution Program. In 1994 she was awarded the Orlando J. Hollis Distinguished Teaching Award. She has been a visiting professor at the University of San Diego, Magdalen College in Oxford, England, and Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland.

While in Oregon, Dean Kloppenberg was heavily involved in service organizations. She served on the board of directors of the Relief Nursery, which coordinates services for abused and neglected children. She provided pro bono legal assistance to an organization that aids torture victims, and to a foundation that awards fellowships to needy students. Dean Kloppenberg has continued her involvement in children's issues since coming to Dayton, and she is on the Hospice of Dayton board.

At Dayton Law Dean Kloppenberg focused on plans for the school's future. She created the position of dean of students and emphasized student services. The school also placed more emphasis on bar passage, and new faculty member were hired for the Program in Law and Technology. Dean Kloppenberg encouraged greater visibility for faculty through scholarship, presentations and in the media.

Additionally, Dean Kloppenberg teaches regularly, engages in scholarly work, develops and maintains relations with alumni and raises funds for the school. Many would be overwhelmed by her responsibilities, but Dean Kloppenberg said was a team effort, and she felt she has a talent for energizing people. "It's more of an attitude. I focus on our priorities and encourage everyone to work together for the betterment of the school."

Becky Cochran, 2009 Recipient

Professor Becky Cochran did not begin her career in law. She directed a Chicago shelter and 24-hour hotline for battered women and children, and because many of the women needed attorneys and went to court against their abusers, started accompanying them to court. She saw what happened in the courtroom and thought, "I could do this!" After graduating second in her class from John Marshall Law School, where she was selected best oralist in the Wagner Labor Law National Moot Court Competition, Professor Cochran clerked for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. She later became an associate with a Chicago law firm, Sachnoff & Weaver, where she specialized in commercial and FDIC litigation.

After moving to Dayton with her family, Professor Cochran served as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Montgomery County, Ohio, where she worked with criminal appeals cases. Her husband, an English professor, convinced her to try teaching.

She has taught at the School of Law since 1991 and is currently the faculty coordinator for the Road to Bar Passage Program, which raises awareness of the bar exam and emphasizes the importance of practice tests. In 2008, 100 percent of the students who completed the Program passed the July Ohio bar. Professor Cochran is the 1999 recipient of the University of Dayton's Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching. She served as the director of the Legal Profession Program from 1995 to 2004. She also served on the Board of Directors of the Association of Legal Writing Directors for three years and has been a member of the American Bar Association Communication Skills Committee. She was appointed to the Ohio State Bar Association Appellate Law Specialty Board in 2006.

Neil Freund, 2009 Recipient

In 1984, Neil Freund cofounded the Dayton firm Freund, Freeze & Arnold, which today includes more than 60 attorneys. He has tried and won hundreds of jury trials in a variety of practice areas in both state and federal courts. Neil has been selected as one of the Top 10 of Ohio Super Lawyers for the years 2004 through 2009, and has also been recognized as one of the Best Lawyers in America for the past 11 years.

Neil received his B.A. from UD in 1967 and went on to earn his J.D. from Ohio Northern. Neil provides support and insight as a member of the University of Dayton Advisory Council. He also established the Walter Rice Jurist in Residence Program, which brings esteemed practitioners to the School of Law for special seminars. Neil is most recently serving the school through his participation on the current campaign committee.

Sr. Mary Louise Foley, 2010 Recipient

Sr. Mary Louise Foley, F.M.I., has been around the University for many years. After graduating from UD, she went to San Antonio, Texas, to join the Marianist sisters. After novitiate she taught sixth graders for several years, then returned to Dayton and worked at Marycrest Hall. Another trip to San Antonio brought new ministry opportunities: work at the Marianist Sisters renewal center was followed by pastoral ministry at a Marianist parish, then administrative work for the Sisters.

In 1991, Sr. Mary Louise joined the School of Law as campus minister, serving as counselor and friend to the students, faculty and staff. She also helps organize the School's annual Interfaith Prayer Service and Red Mass, and serves as an advisor for the St. Thomas More Society, a student organization. In addition, Sr. Mary Louise is involved in the Hand in Hand program, which helps students who are pregnant.

Judge Rice, who serves on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, presented the award to Sr. Mary Louise, calling her the "heart and soul of our law school community." He said she was responsible for making Dayton Law a special place, a place where you know "everyone cares about you and your success in law school and beyond."

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."

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. 

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