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Released on Mar 27, 2023
Monday Morning Message 3.27.23 Carrying the Torch

“Life is no ‘brief candle’ to me. It is sort of a splendid torch which I have a hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it over to future generations.” ― George Bernard Shaw

I am very pleased and excited to announce the 2023 Members of our Hall of Fame and our 2023 Leader on the RiseDelante Spencer Thomas ’16! See their names and photos below.

These distinguished members of our Cleveland State University (CSU|LAW) Hall of Fame have carried the torch of our mission and have made it burn brightly. They have used their voices and their knowledge of the law to make real change and to make a real difference.  

Please join us tomorrow, Tuesday, March 28, 12 noon, when one of our 2023 inductees, Judge Clifton Newman '76will speak in our Moot Court RoomThe event is no cost, open-to-the-public. No tickets or RSVP required, but there is limited seating in our Moot Court Room. Judge Newman presided over the recent trial and sentencing of former South Carolina attorney and now-convicted murderer Alex Murdaugh. Judge Newman, a judge on the South Carolina Circuit Court, is a 1976 graduate of our law school. He earned national plaudits for his even-handed demeanor throughout the trial and his insightful comments during sentencing.

Please also join us when we honor our 2023 Inductees at our 6th Annual CSU|LAW Hall of Fame Celebration on Friday, November 3, 2023, 5:30-8pm at the law school. 

History of our Hall of Fame

Our Hall of Fame was established in 2017 to honor the outstanding contributions to the success and prestige of our law school by distinguished alumni, community leaders, and former deans, faculty and staff. For a complete list of all the members of our Hall of Fame, go here: Hall of Fame Members

We had over 250 very worthy nominations for induction this year, and our Hall of Fame Selection Committee, which consists of a number of current Hall of Fame members as well as some staff, faculty, and myself, selected the inductees for 2023. If you’re like me, you can think of many people who are worthy of induction but have not yet been honored. Please nominate here: Nomination for 2024 Hall of Fame

This special celebration has become the law school’s signature annual event. The evening gives us the opportunity not only to honor our distinguished inductees but also to raise much-needed funds for scholarships for first year students admitted to our Fall 2023 class.


2023 HOF Honorees

Ann Aber, Class of 2003
Senior Vice President, Chief Legal Officer & Secretary, JOANN Stores 

Tony Asher, Class of 1963
Founder, Weston, Inc.

Steve Auvil, Class of 1993
Office Managing Partner, Cleveland, Squire Patton Boggs

Kay E. Benjamin
Former CSU|LAW Staff Member

Terry Billups, Class of 2005
Chief General Counsel, Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority

David P. Burke, Class of 1980
Shareholder, Carlton Fields, P.A.; General Counsel, Amalie Oil Company

Hon. Patrick Carroll, Class of 1977
Retired Judge, Lakewood Municipal Court

John S. Cipolla, Class of 1989
Firm Vice Chair, Calfee, Halter & Griswold LLP

Hon. John J. Donnelly, Class of 1969
Former Judge, Cuyahoga County Probate Court

Arthur Elk, Class of 1973
Elk + Elk, Managing Partner

Prof. Joel Jay Finer
Former CSU|LAW Faculty Member (Deceased)

Gus Frangos, Class of 1982
President and General Counsel, Cuyahoga Land Bank

Tom Green, Class of 2002
Shareholder, Kastner Westman & Wilkins, LLC.

Lindsay Jenkins, Class of 2002
United States District Judge, Northern District of Illinois

Hon. Diane J. Karpinski, Class of 1980
Former Judge, 8th District Court of Appeals of Ohio (Deceased)

Erica Lazzaro, Class of 2004
Executive Vice President of Publisher Services & General Counsel, OverDrive, Inc.

Jennifer Mountcastle, Class of 2000
Senior Vice President, Deputy General Counsel, and Corporate Insurance Director, The Huntington National Bank

Hon. Clifton Newman, Class of 1976
Judge, South Carolina Circuit Court

Susan Petersen, Class of 1997
Partner, Petersen & Petersen

William T. Plesec, Class of 1971
Partner (retired), Jones Day

Renee Tramble Richard, Class of 1988
President, Corporate College; Vice President, Legal Services & Risk Management; General Counsel, Cuyahoga Community College

Hon. Michael J. Ryan, Class of 1996
Judge, 8th District Court of Appeals of Ohio

James Sammon, Class of 1994
Corporate Counsel, Jenne, Inc.

Michael Schwartz
Former President, Cleveland State University and Kent State University  

Maria Spangler, Class of 2006
Director, Community Engagement, The Sherwin-Williams Company; Director, The Sherwin-Williams Foundation

Leader on the Rise

Delante Spencer Thomas, Class of 2016
Chief Ethics Officer, City of Cleveland

Stay safe. Stay healthy. Stay Committed to Living Justice.

Have a great day. Have a great week.

My best,


Lee Fisher
Dean, Cleveland State University College of Law | Cleveland State University
Joseph C. Hostetler-BakerHostetler Chair in Law

For copies of past messages, please go to this link: Monday Morning Messages.

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