The John Marshall Law School Alumni Association presented its 45th Annual Freedom & Distinguished Service Awards on May 16 at the Chicago Cultural Center.
The Freedom Award honors individuals who, through their thinking, accomplishments or profession, reflect the basic tenets of freedom. The award recognizes their work, high ethical standards, efforts to help mankind and initiatives to improve society and our nation.
Associate Dean Emeritus Ralph Ruebner received this year’s Freedom Award. Ruebner joined the John Marshall faculty in 1981. He founded John Marshall’s Criminal Justice Clinic and served as its director for four years. He also served as Moot Court director for 16 years and was the law school’s Centennial Planning Committee chairperson. He was named Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in 2007. Ruebner taught Criminal Procedure, Evidence and International Human Rights. He retired from John Marshall in 2015.
The Alumni Association also honored three John Marshall graduates with Distinguished Service Awards. Distinguished Service Awards are given to those who demonstrate outstanding achievements in a career field or personal endeavor. This year’s honorees were Sandra Crawford (’89), Kenn Nemec (’82) and Rev. Janette Wilson (’80).
Crawford has been a practicing mediator since 1994 and was among the first attorneys in Illinois to be trained in the Collaborative Law model of dispute resolution when the model was introduced here in 2001. Nemec has been a partner at Goldstine, Skrodski, Russian, Nemec and Hoff, Ltd. since 1994. His practice areas include business and corporate law, construction law, estate planning, tax and probate. Wilson currently serves as the Senior Advisor to Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr., National President of RainbowPUSH Inc., Assistant Pastor of the Metropolitan Apostolic Community Church and is employed Special Assistant to the Chief Administrative Officer of the Chicago Public Schools.
This year, the law school also honored five recently retired professors. Professors Susan Brody, Ronald Domsky, Kenneth Kandaras, Timothy O’Neill and Ardath Hamann were all recipients of Honorary Lifetime Service Awards. Collectively, the honorees represent roughly 200 years of service to the law school. Thousands upon thousands of students have had the privilege of learning from them inside and outside the classroom.