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July 7- Stetson College of Law presents awards for work of alumni, friends


Contact Aaron Reincheld
Communications Specialist
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Gulfport, Fla. – Stetson University College of Law recently honored the commitment and dedication of three members of its extended family with the newly established Stetson University Distinguished Service Awards.

The inaugural recipients are:
Leo J. Govoni, president of Boston Asset Management, a member of the Stetson University College of Law Board of Overseers and an advocate for America’s elderly
Chris W. Altenbernd, chief judge of Florida’s Second District Court of Appeal
William Reece Smith Jr., of counsel and chair emeritus of Carlton Fields P.A. and a distinguished professorial lecturer at Stetson

“This award seeks to show our appreciation to those who did not graduate from Stetson, but who have helped shape our institution. The three individuals we honor this year have made a tremendous impact at Stetson,” said Stetson Law Dean Darby Dickerson. “Stetson is able to offer the highest quality of legal education because of the work of many individuals who share their intellect, integrity, time and other resources.”

The awards will be presented annually to one or more individuals who are not alumni of Stetson University College of Law, but who have made significant, meritorious and continuing contributions that have benefited the College of Law.

Several awards honoring Stetson alumni also were presented this year:

Edwin T. “Eddie” Mulock ’68 received the Ben C. Willard Award for his distinguished humanitarian achievements, which have benefited Florida citizens. Mulock has practiced law in Bradenton for more than 30 years.

The Honorable Kenneth A. Marra ’77 received the Distinguished Alumnus Award for service to humanity and proven dedication which have fostered the ideals of the College of Law. Judge Marra took office as a U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of Florida in September 2002.

Gary R. Trombley ’73 received the Paul M. May Meritorious Service Award in recognition of his continued support of the College of Law through contributions of time and gifts. Trombley is a member of the Board of Overseers of the College of Law and a member of the law firm of Trombley & Hanes in Tampa.

Karen A. Williams ’94 and Paul A. Turk Jr. ’79 each received Outstanding Alumni Representative Awards for dedication and service to the Stetson Lawyers Association and encouraging alumni involvement in local activities. Williams is of counsel with the law firm of Lowndes, Drosdick, Doster, Kantor & Reed in Orlando. Turk is the president-elect of the Stetson Lawyers Association Advisory Council and a shareholder in the litigation department of Gunster Yoakley in West Palm Beach.

Robert J. Sniffen ’93 was recognized with the President’s Award for his year-long service as president of the Stetson Lawyers Association. Sniffen is a member of Moyle, Flanigan, Katz, Raymond & Sheehan P.A. in Tallahassee.

The awards were presented at the 2004 annual meeting of The Florida Bar.

About the recipients
Leo J. Govoni

Leo J. Govoni is president of Boston Asset Management, a member of the Stetson University College of Law Board of Overseers and an advocate for America’s elderly. In 1998, Leo became an affiliate member of the Elder Law Section of the Florida Bar. He worked closely with elder law attorneys to help meet the needs of their clients in many areas including Medicaid planning, life planning and asset protection.

In 2001, Govoni and Stetson alumnus John Staunton endowed the first elder law faculty chair in the country at Stetson University College of Law. Govoni has served on many Florida Bar committees and currently serves on the Florida Bar Rules Committee.

Chris W. Altenbernd
The Honorable Chris W. Altenbernd serves as chief judge of Florida’s Second District Court of Appeal. He attended Harvard College from 1967 until 1969. After working for a year as a volunteer in a job-training program sponsored by the Presbyterian Church in Greenville, Miss., he attended the University of Missouri where he received his bachelor’s degree with honors in psychology in 1972, and became a member of Phi Beta Kappa. He received his J.D. degree from Harvard Law School in 1975, and a Master of Laws in Judicial Process in 1998 from the University of Virginia.

Judge Altenbernd played an instrumental role in the creation of the Tampa Law Center, bringing together the Second District of Court of Appeal and Stetson University College of Law in a unique public/private partnership. He continues to be a strong supporter of Stetson.

William Reece Smith Jr.
William Reece Smith Jr. has dedicated his life and career to the service of others. He is a national leader in the legal aid movement. Smith is a past president of the Hillsborough County Bar Association, the Florida Bar, the American Bar Association, and the International Bar Association. He previously served as interim president of the University of South Florida. His relationship with Stetson Law began in the 1950s, and he has taught as a distinguished professorial lecturer since 1991. Smith is a member of the College of Law’s Board of Overseers and a past member of the school’s Board of Trustees.

Smith has received numerous awards for enhancing legal services to the poor, including the ABA’s Gold Medal and the Florida Bar Foundation’s Medal of Honor. He is of counsel and chair emeritus of Carlton Fields P.A., where he has practiced law since 1953.

Edwin T. “Eddie” Mulock ’68
In 1995, while recovering from a heart transplant at Shands Hospital in Gainesville, Mulock witnessed the plight of many sick children. The next year he created the Foundation for Dreams with the mission to fund and operate Dream Oaks Camp, a refuge for children with mental or physical disabilities or chronic or terminal illnesses. The camp opened in 2001. Last year, 56 children enjoyed the pristine 150 acres of camp located in East Manatee County. More than 250 campers are scheduled to participate this year.

Eddie owns his own practice in Bradenton, and he has been a Manatee County resident for more than 50 years. He attended local schools and received his undergraduate and law degrees from Stetson University. He continues to serve on several boards, is a past member of the Florida Bar Board of Governors and serves as a certified mediator.

Gary R. Trombley ’73
A member of the College of Law’s Board of Overseer, Gary Trombley has served as president of the Stetson Lawyers Association and chair of the College’s Inaugural Family & Friends Day in 2001. He is a member of the law firm of Trombley & Hanes in Tampa and concentrates his practice in the areas of white collar criminal defense, fraud and business crimes, criminal trial practice and complex civil litigation.

Trombley has served as a member of the Hillsborough County Bar Association’s Criminal law Section, Federal Liaison Committee and as president of their Trial Lawyers Section; a member of the American Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Section and White Collar Crime Committee; a member of the Florida Bar Board of Governors and 13th Judicial Nominating Committee, a member of the Herbert G. Goldburg Criminal Law American Inn of Court and chair of the USF Law Alumni Society.

Karen A. Williams ’94
Karen Williams is of counsel with the law firm of Lowndes, Drosdick, Doster, Kantor & Reed in Orlando, practicing in the areas of labor and employment and general litigation. Williams recently completed a term of service at the College of Law as the Trial Advocacy Fellow. In that role, she taught trial advocacy and coordinated the trial team.

Williams is a member of the American Bar Association Labor & Employment Litigation sections; the Orange County Bar Association; Federal Bar Association and the Florida Bar Labor and Employment Law and Trial Lawyer sections. She also has spoken at numerous Continuing Legal Education seminars.

Paul A. Turk Jr. ’79
Paul Turk is the president-elect of the Stetson Lawyers Association Advisory Council and has previously served as first and second vice president. Turk is a shareholder in the litigation department of Gunster Yoakley and practices in the areas of complex commercial litigation, eminent domain and land use litigation. He also is a part of the firm’s recruitment efforts at the College of Law. He has served as chairman of the Florida Bar’s Eminent Domain Committee; chairman of the Fee Arbitration Committee, and chairman of the Palm Beach County Bar Association’s United Way Committee, Law Office Management and Practice Development Committee, and Commercial Litigation Section. He is also a frequent presenter at CLE seminars.

Robert Sniffen ’93
Robert Sniffen practices primarily in the areas of labor and employment law, civil rights and constitutional law for Moyle, Flanigan, Katz, Raymond & Sheehan P.A. in Tallahassee. A substantial portion of Sniffen’s practice involves counseling clients on legal issues affecting the workplace and litigation of personnel disputes in federal and state court, before various labor boards and other administrative tribunals and in arbitration.

Sniffen is active in the Labor and Employment Law Section of the Florida Bar and served as Chair for 1999-2000. He is a frequent lecturer at seminars and has authored several articles on personnel issues and the litigation of labor and employment law claims. Sniffen received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Florida and his Juris Doctor degree from Stetson University College of Law.