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Eight Honored for Distinguished Service


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Stetson University College of Law recently honored eight outstanding alumni and friends with awards for distinguished service to the law school or legal profession.

Stetson Law Vice President and Dean Darby Dickerson presented this year’s awards on June 18 at the Stetson Lawyers Association Annual Meeting and Reception in Boca Raton, Fla., to the following:

(Please click on the bold links below to view a photograph of each award recipient)
Robert Dillinger ’76, the Pinellas-Pasco County public defender, received the Ben C. Willard Award for his distinguished humanitarian achievements that benefit Florida citizens. Dillinger has also served as an adjunct professor at Stetson Law and supervised its Public Defender Clinic.

Congressman Gus Bilirakis ’89, elected to four terms as a member of the Florida House of Representatives and a member of the House Committees on Homeland Security, Veterans’ Affairs and Foreign Affairs, received the Distinguished Alumnus Award for service to humanity and proven dedication to the ideals of the College. His office recently sponsored a Stetson Law student as part of the new Law and Policy Internship in Washington, D.C.

Robert E. Doyle, Jr. ’75 and Matthew A. Towery ’87 each received the Paul M. May Meritorious Service Award for their continued support of the College through contributions of time and gifts. Doyle is a mediator and arbitrator and serves on the Executive Committee of Stetson University College of Law’s Board of Overseers. Towery is a former member of the Georgia House of Representatives and a well-respected author and political campaign strategist. He has served on Stetson Law’s Board of Overseers and supports projects of the Center for Excellence in Elder Law.

Barbara Cowherd ’00 and Arturo Rios, Jr. ’06 received Stetson Law’s Outstanding Alumni Representative Award for dedication and service to the Stetson Lawyers Association and encouraging alumni involvement in local activities. Cowherd, whose practice is devoted to liability matters, is a past participant in the Homeless Advocacy project and Guardian ad Litem program who has devoted significant time to Stetson Law’s ABA Self-Study Committee. She is an officer of the Stetson Lawyers Association Advisory Council. Rios specializes in immigration law litigation and has devoted significant time to advocacy and alumni activities at the College. He was recently elected to Stetson Law’s Board of Overseers.

Susan Demers and Hassan M. Milani each received the Distinguished Service Award, which was created for non-alumni who make significant contributions to Stetson Law. Demers, dean of St. Petersburg College’s paralegal studies program, is a long-time adjunct professor and trial team coach at Stetson Law. Milani, a successful businessman who originally came to the United States from Iran, created an endowed scholarship at Stetson Law and has helped the law school with certain facilities projects.
Editor’s Note: Farzad Milani ’06 accepted the award for his father and appears in the photograph on behalf of Hassan M. Milani.

“These awards show our appreciation to the outstanding alumni and friends of the College who have devoted their time, integrity, scholarship and other resources to make Stetson Law the outstanding legal institution that it is today,” said Stetson Law Vice President and Dean Darby Dickerson. “Because of the work of these many individuals, the College can continue on its mission to create a community of leaders in the legal profession.”

Charles Roberts is this year’s incoming Stetson Lawyers Association president.