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Steven E. Yuhas Alumni Special Service Award
Created in 2010, the Steven E. Yuhas Alumni Special Service Award recognizes a University of Dayton School of Law graduates who have been deeply involved in the work of the Alumni Association and the School of Law through extraordinary service and exceptional contributions of time, talent and financial assistance.
Bob DeRose '91 and the Honorable Mary Kate Huffman '90, 2015 Recipient
Bob DeRose '91
Senior Partner with Barkan Meizlish in Columbus, Ohio, Bob DeRose works in the area of “wage & hour/overtime violations”. He is very active in workers’ rights issues and is the former president of the Ohio Association for Justice, a leading trial organization founded in 1954 protecting consumer access to the Civil Justice System. He is a member of the Board of the American Association of Justice. He teaches as an Adjunct Professor at Capital University Law School Graduate Program and is involved in his community.
Bob has been named a Top 100 Trial Lawyer in Ohio since 2007 by the American Trial Lawyers Association and listed as an Ohio Super Lawyer by Cincinnati Magazine since 2005. He is listed in the Who’s Who of American Law and was recently voted to the prestigious Melvin M. Belli Society by his peers around the country.
In 2012, Bob was plaintiffs’ counsel in a civil case that needed a Cy Pres. He designated the School of Law’s Project & Business Ethics as the recipient of the first award of $12,000 and since that time has designated more than $185,000 towards that program, which is laying the foundation for curricular growth.
Hon. Mary Kate Huffman '90
The Honorable Mary Kate Huffman, adjunct professor and president of the School of Law Alumni Association, along with the Student International Law Mission Delegation, were also recipients of the 2015 Steven E. Yuhas Alumni Special Service Award in grateful recognition of their extraordinary mission service to Agua Viva Guatemala. The student delegation included Kesha Brooks, Hillary Fry, Mali Khantrece, Kyle LaBuff, Kendra Lee, Kim Melchor, Jennifer Nicholson, Kathryn Rettich and Kaelynn Smith.
William L. Jennewein ’86
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.
Christopher B. Epley '99
Chris Epley, a 1999 graduate, is actively involved in the School of Law as an Alumni Association Board Trustee, adjunct professor and externship field supervisor. His legal community involvement includes the Ohio Supreme Court Lawyer to Lawyer Mentoring Program, as well as, the Certified Grievance Committee and Bar Exam Committee for the Dayton Bar Association. His experience includes private practice as Christopher B. Epley Co., LPA, the Assistant Prosecuting Attorney for the Vandalia Municipal Court, the substitute magistrate for Dayton Municipal Court and Visiting Judge for Oakwood Municipal Court.
Local community involvement has Epley as the current Oakwood Board of Education Vice President and as a member of Oakwood Rotary. He is also the boys soccer announcer and official basketball scorekeeper for Oakwood Schools.
Epley received the Montgomery County Common Pleas Court, Juvenile Division, Special Recognition Award in 2009 and was recognized in the Dayton Business Journal's 40 Under 40 Award in 2006.
One nomination for the Yuhas Award stated, "Chris volunteered our office for UDSL externs to learn the profession as part of their 192 hour course requirement as well as taught Appellate Advocacy to second year law students. In addition Chris served as the faculty advisor for UDSL Moot court teams, where I witnessed first hand the respect and loyalty he received from the students. Finally, I have observed Chris volunteering for the Dayton Bar Association by serving on 2 substantive law committees during our years together as a firm. In addition Chris consistently shows the same passion and dedication to his clients. Even in trying circumstances he is able to see the bigger picture and protect the interests of children by serving as a court appointed representative. I know he would be a well deserved recipient of the award. Chris truly embodies the Marianist philosophy of 'learn, lead and serve.'"
Tom Whelley II '77
Tom Whelley has been a consistent and loyal supporter of the law school since graduating in 1977. He is a member of the School of Law’s Advisory Council and teaches civil trial practice at the law school.
He also serves on the boards of the Dayton Early College Academy and the Law Leadership Institute and has served as president of the Legal Aid Society of Dayton and the Dayton Bar Association, and as chair of the Western Ohio Chapter of the Multiple Sclerosis Society.
Whelley is a partner in Dinsmore & Shohl’s Dayton office He has extensive experience in litigating complex business cases, including shareholder disputes, accounting malpractice, broker dealer actions, and other related fields. Previously, he worked at Chernesky, Heyman & Kress and Thompson, Hine & Flory.
“I believe community service is a learned behavior,” Whelley said, crediting his parents, professors and “icons” of the Dayton community for instilling him the importance of service.
“This institution has been wonderful to me,” Whelley said. “My legal career started here and it only made sense that over the years I give back.”
In 1994, he received Dayton Law’s Distinguished Alumni Award. While in law school, he was editor-in-chief of the University of Dayton Law Review.
Jeff Rezabek '97
Jeff Rezabek has operated his Dayton law practice since 2003. He also serves as a substitute magistrate with the Dayton Municipal Court. Rezabek has been a Guardian Ad Litem since 1998 and has assisted the CASA Program and the Dayton Bar Association in the training of GALs since 2000. He started his legal career at the firm of Charles Smiley and Associates in 1998, and was recognized as partner two years later.
He was named the GAL of the Year in 2003 by Montgomery County Juvenile Court's CASA Program, and Attorney of the Year in both 2003 and 2009 by the Appointed Council Program of the Montgomery County Common Pleas Court.
An active and valued member of the School of Law¿s Alumni Association, Rezabek has served on the association's Board of Trustees since 1998 and plays an instrumental role in organizing the School's annual Honorable Carl D. Kessler Scholarship Golf Tournament. He received the Alumni Association's President Award in 2005.
Rezabek also received his undergraduate degree, in psychology and history, from the University of Dayton in 1991.
Judge Mary Kate Huffman, president of the Alumni Association, presented the Yuhas Special Service Award to Rezabek, praising his dedication to service, "whatever the need or occasion." "We can always count of Jeff," Huffman said. "He is always there for his community, for the law school and for the students."
Rezabek said that he was exposed to University's mantra to "Learn, Lead and Serve" throughout his time as a student at Dayton, first from Bro. Raymond Fitz, who was president of the University when Rezabek was an undergrad, then from Fran Conte, who was dean while Rezabek was a law student. Today, the current dean, Lisa Kloppenberg, has taken that philosophy, Rezabek said, "and run with it." Rezabek also noted that the students in the Class of 2011, who graduated earlier in May, had contributed more than 12,000 hours of community service during their time in law school. UDSL students, he said, are "challenging us to do more" and to serve our communities more.
Steve Yuhas '85
Steve Yuhas served as president of the School of Law's Alumni Association from 2002 to 2010. He was instrumental in the association's efforts to increase involvement of alumni in activities at UDSL. He received the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2001 for his many contributions to the School and the Dayton community.
In honor of his dedication to the School of Law and his accomplishments as president of the Alumni Association, the School created the Steven E. Yuhas Alumni Special Service Award in 2010. The award recognizes a University of Dayton School of Law graduate's extraordinary service and contributions to the Alumni Association, the School of Law, its students as well as the community. The award recognizes individuals who have been deeply involved in the work of the Alumni Association and the School of Law through exceptional contributions of time, talent and financial assistance.
Steve graduated from the School of Law in 1985, and received his undergraduate degree in criminal justice from the University of Dayton in 1982. He has been practicing law in Dayton for over 25 years and specializes in Plaintiff's Worker's Compensation, Personal Injury, Divorce, Juvenile Court work and Criminal Law. Steve is currently practicing with Thorson, Switala, Mondock and Snead "of counsel". He served as president of the Alumni Association from 2002 to 2010.