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Richard P. Perna Young Alumni Award

Richard P. Perna Young Alumni Award Of Excellence

The Richard P. Perna Young Alumni Award of Excellence recognizes a UDSL graduate who has made a significant leadership, career and/or service contribution to their community, the School of Law or the legal profession within 10 years of graduation.

Michelle M. Thompson ’16

Michelle Thompson is a litigation attorney with Kaman & Cusimano, where she represents community associations throughout Ohio on legal matters. As counsel for non-profit organizations, she advises on preventative litigation, contract disputes, construction defects, and business litigation matters. 

Born and raised on the southside of Chicago, she graduated magna cum laude from Saint Xavier University (Chicago) ’13. Michelle moved to Dayton to attend law school.  She made Dayton her new home and immersed herself into the Dayton community. She interned for Chief Magistrate Sharon L. Ovington, United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, and began networking with UDSL alumni in the Dayton legal community. While at UDSL, Michelle served as staff writer for Dayton Law Review and competed on the Mock Trial Team. Michelle was the President of the Volunteer Student Lawyers Project, a student organization that volunteers on legal and non-legal matters in the community and exemplifies its mission for access to justice. Michelle worked alongside the UDSL Alumni Association to create scholarships for law students interning in public service positions each summer. Upon graduation, Michelle received both the Pro Bono Commitment to Community Award and the Lisa A. Kloppenberg Student Leadership Award for her contributions and involvement with the law school, academic contributions to the profession, and her commitment to public service. 

Michelle’s passion for service and access to justice continued as she regularly volunteered for programs with the Greater Dayton Volunteer Lawyers Project, chaired committees to fundraise for Legal Aid of Ohio, and undertook many pro bono cases. Michelle also serves the non-legal community where she was a member of the Dayton Children’s Women’s Board, on the Board of Directors of the Disability Foundation as part of the Dayton Foundation, and sat on the Associate Board of the Dayton History Museum at Carillon Park. While serving on these active Board’s, Michelle also regularly volunteered with Habitat for Humanity and the Goodwill Easter Seals Miami Valley. Michelle worked directly with the UDSL Volunteer Student Lawyer Project to ensure law students also had the opportunity to serve the community throughout law school. 

Michelle received the Ohio State Bar Foundation District 2 Community Service Award for Attorneys 40 and Under in 2018 and was a recipient of the Dayton Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 Award in 2019. While attending the Ohio State Bar Association’s 2019 Leadership Academy, Michelle’s legal career was no longer based in the Dayton community, but she still regularly volunteers with the Dayton Bar Association, the Ohio State Bar Association, with the organizations she served as a Board Member, and with the UDSL community. 

Scot Ganow '09, 2019 Recipient

Scot Ganow is currently co-chair of Taft Stettinius & Hollister’s Privacy and Data Security Practice, where he assists clients of all sizes and across the country in understanding their legal obligations related to data governance, to include navigating ever expanding privacy and security regulations.

A former military brat and Army officer himself, Scot has traveled and lived all over the U.S. However, he has now lived in Dayton longer than anywhere. Scot graduated UDSL in 2009 as a recipient of the Pro Bono Commitment to Service Award. He has continued his service in the Dayton community in a variety of ways.  He currently serves as outside counsel to The Victory Project, an after school program for at risk youth, and has otherwise volunteered or served on the board for almost 10 years. 

As privacy is a passion for Scot, he also volunteers a great deal of his time educating on the value for privacy and protecting one’s information in age of the Internet. Scot regularly speaks to students, teachers, parents and community groups on ways to protect oneself online and exercise choices in how we share information about ourselves. Scot presented his TEDx Dayton talk “The Humanity in Privacy” at Dayton’s Victoria Theater in 2016. 

Scot has also been a tireless advocate for the School of Law, offering assistance to hundreds of students in the form of mentoring, networking assistance, mock interviews and career advice. Scot regularly speaks to incoming classes and at other sessions on a variety of topics related to law school and beyond. Scot views his role as an adjunct professor to not only prepare his students on the substantive law, but also prepare them for gaining access into the modern legal workforce and succeeding there. Scot commits a significant amount of time in and out of class encouraging the development of marketable professional skills in his students to help them distinguish themselves and thrive in a competitive marketplace.

Jane Novick '12, 2017 Recipient

Jane Novick’s life's passion was solidified when her second child Elana, was determined to be developmentally delayed.  In her quest to advocate for Elana’s best interests, Jane learned enough to become an advocate for people with special needs.  In Ohio, she created the South Dayton Parent’s group and was appointed by Governor Taft to the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council, in which she chaired the Employment and Health committee.  Jane strongly believes that individuals with special needs should have the ability to move out of segregated settings and be integrated into the community through work, school, housing and recreation. 

Her advocacy led her to the University of Dayton School of Law where she earned her JD in January 2012 at the age of 57.  Her practice focuses on disability issues, elder law, in particular elder abuse, estate planning, and juvenile issues.  Jane is a member of the Montgomery County Collaboration Against Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation of the Elderly; Lifecycles, a committee that focuses on issues affecting people at different stages of their life, the Wright State University Community Advisory Board for the Person-Centered Medical Home for People Living with Dementia, and the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. She has given lectures at the Montgomery County Regional Center for Children with Special Needs, the Montgomery County Board of Developmental Disability Services, the Access Center for Independent Living and at several senior centers and community centers.


School of Law

Keller Hall
300 College Park
Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 2760