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Stetson Law honors alumni and friends at the Florida Bar Annual Meeting


Contact Brandi Palmer
Communications Specialist
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Gulfport, Fla. – Stetson University College of Law honored several alumni and friends at its annual Stetson Lawyers Association meeting on June 21 in Boca Raton, Fla.

Katherine Ezell ’69 and Judge Thomas E. Penick Jr. ’72 received the Ben C. Willard Award for distinguished humanitarian achievements that have benefited Florida citizens and people throughout the world.

  • Ezell, a 2006 winner of the Tobias Simon Award for outstanding pro bono service, is highly regarded for her outstanding community service and work with public interest law and children in the foster care system.
  • Penick, a nine-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force who retired after 26 years on the bench in Pinellas County, has been honored with several awards for outstanding justice.

Howard Ross ’64 received the Distinguished Alumnus Award. Ross, who practices business law and litigation at Battaglia, Ross, Dicus & Wein, has taught at Stetson Law, worked with the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce Entrepreneurial Academy, and served as president of St. Petersburg Neighborhood Housing Inc.

Joshua Magidson ’80 and Luis Prats ’81 received the Paul M. May Meritorious Service Award for continued support of the College of Law.

  • Magidson, a former Stetson Lawyers Association board member and Stetson College of Law overseer, is a civil litigation expert who chairs the board of Ruth Eckerd Hall and supports the Florida Orchestra and the City of Clearwater Task Force for downtown development.
  • Prats, a Stetson University trustee and graduate of both Stetson University and Stetson College of Law, is rated as one of the best construction lawyers in the U.S. and serves on the board of directors for the Tampa Habitat for Humanity and the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce.

Melvyn Trute ’66 and Anne L. Weintraub ’03 received the Outstanding Alumni Representative Award.

  • Trute, who practices in the areas of real estate and probate law at Trute & Robbins, was instrumental in amending probate laws in Florida.
  • Weintraub serves on the Stetson Lawyers Association Advisory Council, the corporate board for the Boys and Girls Club of Sarasota County and the All Faiths Bank campaign against hunger.

Tom Elligett, Bonnie Foreman, Judge James Whatley and Congressman Bill Young received Distinguished Service Awards for significant, meritorious and continuing contributions that have benefited Stetson Law.

  • Elligett is past chair of the Florida Bar Appellate Practice and Advocacy Section, past president of the Hillsborough County Bar Association, and past president and current master of the J. Clifford Cheatwood American Inn of Court.
  • Foreman established a memorial award for Stetson Law students honoring her husband Edward D. Foreman ’71, who dedicated his life to the legal profession and to the community.
  • Judge Whatley was appointed to the 12th Judicial Circuit in January 1989 and to Florida’s 2nd District Court of Appeal in 1995.
  • Congressman Young, who is an advocate for the needs of Pinellas County and Stetson Law, is serving his 18th term and is the senior Republican in the House of Representatives, is a past member of the appropriations committee, House Armed Services Committee and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

Shirin M. Vesely ’94 received the President’s Award, a gift of recognition for serving as president of the Stetson Lawyer’s Association Advisory Council and as a member of the Stetson University College of Law Board of Overseers.

The awards were presented June 21 at the 2006 annual meeting of the Florida Bar.