Alumni Class Notes

Have you recently been promoted, honored or published? Have you switched employers or career paths? Announce marriages and births! Share the news with fellow UDM alumni, parents, friends, faculty and staff.

The University of Detroit Mercy community is also interested in celebrating the lives of our alumni. If you know of a member of the community who has recently entered eternal life please post a note.

The following are classnotes submitted by our alumni. Post a new classnote today!




Ronald Acho ’69, partner and co-fouder of Cummings, McClorey, Davis & Acho PLC in Livonia, Mich.,

Hon. John G. Cummings '63 was honored recently by the St. Clair County Bar Association, which named the annual Professionalism Trophy Award in his name. The trophy was awarded to the winning school in the Association-sponsored St. Clair County High School Mock Trial Program. Students were encouraged to emulate all the criteria used in the naming of this trophy (professionalism, integrity, and acting in both private and professional life in furtherance of the highest ideals of the legal profession).

John G. Donahue ’68, assistant director of Career Services at Medill Northwestern University, received the Founders Award of the Midwest Association of Colleges and Employers at their annual conference. Donahue began his career in the career services field as a cooperative education coordinator at University of Detroit in 1979 and worked in the Career Center until 1984.

Mary Ellen Howard, RSM ’68, executive director of the Cabrini Clinic of Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church, was recognized as a Nursing Administration Winner at the 26th Annual Nightingale Awards for Nursing Excellence 2014, presented by Oakland University School of Nursing.

Robert H. Martin ’66 is now serving as a mediator in the practice of law, with a preference for the areas of construction and employment mediation.

Joan Wines ’66, ’68, an English professor at California Lutheran University, received the university’s 2014 President’s Award for Teaching Excellence.

William D. Booth '62, a senior partner at Plunkett Cooney, received the Outstanding Achievement Award sponsored by the Council of the Negligence Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan, which selects the winner in recognition of the individual's distinguished service to the legal community.


Hon. Maura Corrigan '73, director of the Michigan Department of Human Services and former Michigan Supreme Court justice, is one of four people honored with an "Excellence in Mentoring Award" from MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership. She received the award at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. Since 2005, Corrigan has mentored young adults and has volunteered with programs to recruit mentors, maintain state funding and build partnerships. In addition, she was instrumental in passing Michigan's Voluntary Young Adult Foster Care Act, which extends foster care support and benefits to qualifying individuals until age 21.

Timothy Currier '78, attorney and CEO of Beier Howlett, P.C., was nominated and selected to be a member of Leading Lawyers and the Leading Lawyers Advisory Board. Currier is recognized as one of the leading experts in school and municipal law in the State of Michigan. He is the Birmingham City Attorney and also represents the Birmingham Area Cable Board, Intergovernmental Cable Communications Authority, and the Bloomfield Village Association. He is also the attorney for Dearborn Public Schools and represents the Lapeer Area Community Schools, Lincoln Consolidated Schools, and the Troy School District.

Ina Fernandez ’74, managing director of Liberty Capital Management, Inc., was profiled in Crain’s Detroit Business June 2, 2014 issue on immigration as an “American Dreamer.”
Joyce Hayes Giles ’78 was appointed by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder to lead the Education Achievement Authority board as chair. She will also serve as chair of the Education Achievement Authority board’s executive committee.

Lisa S. Gretchko '78, an attorney with Howard & Howard, was selected by her peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America 2014.

Carmine Palombo ’75, director of transportation planning for the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG), was appointed SEMCOG’s deputy executive director.

John J. Siciliano '78, an attorney with Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP, has been included in the 2014 edition of The Best Lawyers in America.

Martin Szmanski ’75, vice president, general counsel and secretary, Severstal North America, was recognized by Crain’s Detroit Business as a Finalist: Over $1 Billion in the General and In-House Counsel Awards 2014.

Hon. Michael J. Talbot '71, a Michigan Court of Appeals judge, was appointed by the Supreme Court to help with Detroit's 36th District Court budget crisis.

Bruce Vande Vusse '78 was elected to serve as the vice president of the Southeast Michigan Office for the 2014 executive committee at the law firm of Foster Swift Collins & Smith, PC. As shareholder at Foster Swift, Vande Vusse focuses his practice in the area of professional liability defense, representing hospitals and their various affiliates, including physicians, nurses and other healthcare providers.
Sharon M. Woods '71 was named by Best Lawyers as Detroit Professional Malpractice Defense Lawyer of the Year for 2014. Woods specializes in business litigation, including commercial and complex litigation, construction, securities, intellectual property litigation, employment litigation, class action litigation, professional malpractice defense, and alternative dispute resolution.


Jennifer Andreou '85 was elected to Plunkett Cooney's Board of Directors. Andreou, who previously served as a member of the board of directors from 2006 to 2009, is one of the firm's most experienced trial attorneys and co-chairs Plunkett Cooney's Medical Liability Practice Group. A member of the firm's Mt. Clemens office, she focuses her practice exclusively in the areas of medical liability litigation and licensure actions against medical professionals.

Ken Clein ’84 joined the Detroit office of Harley Ellis Deveraux as the higher education studio leader.

Henry B. Cooney '80, president and CEO of Plunkett Cooney, was named chair of the 2014 Mackinac Policy Conference for the Detroit Regional Chamber. Cooney, who has led Plunkett Cooney since 1998, has been a longtime member of the Chamber's board of directors.

Joseph V. Coppola, Sr. '88, a partner in Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP's IP Department and its Patent Practice Group, was recognized as one of the 2014 IP Stars in the directory published by Managing Intellectual Property.

Timothy R. Damschroder '88, an attorney at Bodman, was appointed by Mich. Gov. Rick Snyder to a four-year term on the newly created Michigan Health Endowment Fund Board. The Fund's purpose is to benefit the health and wellness of Michigan residents with a focus on programs for children and senior citizens.
Robin Ferriby '87, vice president of Philanthropic Services for the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, was selected to serve as a member of the Michigan Nonprofit Council for Charitable Trusts. The Council acts as a communication vehicle to the Attorney General on issues related to charities and charitable giving in Michigan.

Karen (Manier) Galena ’89 joined Beltmann Integrated Logistics as director of business development.

Robert Haddad ’88, principal and leader of the product safety group at Miller Canfield, was elected to serve a two-year term as the firm’s managing director.

Michael J. O'Callaghan '89, an attorney at Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP, has been included in the 2014 edition of The Best Lawyers in America@. Recognized for his work in Environmental Law, O'Callaghan has extensive experience in representing clients in RCRA, CERCLA, EPCRA and TSCA matters.

Elizabeth Rae-O'Donnell '87 has joined the law firm of Cummings, McClorey, Davis & Acho, P.L.C. (CMDA) as an attorney in the Livonia, Michigan office. She focuses her practice on municipal law and labor and employment law.

Karen Smyth '89, a partner at the law firm of Lipson, Neilson, Cole, Seltzer & Garin, P.C., will serve as president of the newly-formed Michigan chapter of the prestigious Claims & Litigation Management (CLM) Alliance. Individuals are extended membership by nomination from a CLM Fellow. Smyth has also successfully earned the designation of Certified Litigation Management Professional (CLMP).  

Rebecca Van Dine ’83 was promoted to perioperative clinician, continuing education/workforce development at Broward College in Davie Fla.


Brian M. Akkashian '96 joined Anthony R. Paesano at Paesano, PLC to form Paesano Akkashian, PC in downtown Birmingham, Mich. Paesano Akkashian, PC specializes in corporate and business litigation and transactional work as well as estate and trust planning.

David C. Anderson '98, a shareholder at Collins Einhorn Farrell PC, was recently elected to vice president of the Oakland County Bar Association, the largest voluntary bar association in Michigan with over 3,000 members.

Michael M. Antovski '97 joined the Detroit office of the law firm Bodman PLC as a member of the firm's Business Practice Group. He concentrates his practice in representing business clients, including corporations, LLCs, and partnerships, in matters involving tax planning, acquisitions and dispositions, and general corporate law.

Randal Cole '96, a member of the firm of Dawda Mann, delivered a presentation before the American Society of Employers Conference Employment Law Workshop, titled "Terminations from A through Z and Minimizing the L (Lawsuits)."

David C.C. Eberhard '94, was named a partner at the law firm of Warner Norcross & Judd LLP. Eberhard, who is the co-chair of the firm's Construction Law Practice Group, focuses his practice in the areas of real estate, construction, financial services, corporate and business law.

Terese L. Farhat ’91 joined the Birmingham, Mich. office of Clark Hill, PLC as senior counsel in the firm’s Health Care Practice Group. Her expertise involves numerous aspects of health care law, including litigation, transactional matters, regulatory compliance, labor and employment, risk management and patient safety, and medical investigational research involving human participants.

Stephanie Henson-Kirklin ’98 was selected by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder to receive a 2014 W.K. Kellogg Foundation Woodrow Wilson Michigan Teaching Fellowship. Each fellow will receive a $30,000 stipend while completing  an intensive master’s-level teacher education program at a participating Michigan university. After completing the degree, fellows commit to teach for at least three years in a high-need Michigan school, with ongoing support and mentoring.
Christine (Sheets) Horn ’90, a program director, Data Analysis and Management at Enterprise Community Partners, Inc. in Columbia, Md., received the Community Vision Award from her employer.

Keegan-Michael Key '93, co-star of Comedy Central’s Key & Peele, was included on Time's list of the 100 most influential people for 2014, for his work with comedy partner Jordan Peele.

Meredith (Lyons) Phillips ’94, ’97, Henry Ford Health System’s chief information privacy and security officer, was appointed to the Medical Identity  Fraud Alliance Board of Directors as vice president.

Mark D. Kleinlein '95 joined the firm of Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP as a partner in its Insurance Department's Captive Insurance Practice Group, working in the firm's Detroit Office. His experience includes policy drafting and interpretation, reinsurance contract review and coverage analysis.

Mark D. Lytle '90, assistant U.S. Attorney, was honored at the 60th Annual Attorney General's Awards Ceremony with the Attorney General's Award for Distinguished Service, the second highest award for employee performance bestowed by the Department. The award recognized the investigation and prosecution of former New Orleans Congressman William J. Jefferson for corruption-related offenses.

Patrick M. McCarthy '93, an attorney at Howard & Howard, was selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America.

John A. Mullett '93, joined the Grand Rapids office of McGraw Morris P.C. His practice areas include professional liability, insurance defense, coverage review, municipal litigation and business law.

Mark Nettleton '95, an attorney at Mika Meyers Beckett & Jones PLC, Grand Rapids, was awarded the Distinguished Municipal Attorney of the Year award by the Michigan Association of Municipal Attorneys. The award is given for outstanding contributions to the practice of municipal law on behalf of cities and villages throughout Michigan, and acknowledges the highest level of professional accomplishment while also serving their colleagues through professional organizations. Nettleton was also recently elected Secretary-Treasurer of the State Bar of Michigan Public Corporation Law Section.

Alan T. Rogalski '90 was named co-chair of the Life Sciences Industry Group for Warner Norcross & Judd LLP. He practices in the firm's Southfield, Michigan office.

Stephen Ruschak ’92 was promoted to president and COO of The Guarantee Co. of North American USA in Southfield, Mich.


Robert S. Abramson '05 was named a shareholder in the law firm of Kopka, Pinkus, Dolin and Eads. He specializes in defending first-party, third-party, and uninsured motorist cases.

Ryan Adams ’05, ’05, a first transitional deacon in the Catholic Church, was ordained a priest of the Archdioces of Detroit on June 7.

Jennifer Sheehan Anderson '00, a partner in Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP's IP Department and its Trademark and Copyright Practice Group, was recognized as one of the 2014 IP Stars in the directory published by Managing Intellectual Property.

Abed A. Ayoub ’05 is now the Legal Director for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) in Washington, D.C. He served as moderator for a two-hour panel on civil rights that was televised on C-Span2. The ADC hosted a briefing on Capitol Hill to highlight the positive relationship between Arab-American communities and law enforcement.

Nicole M. Baker '06 recently joined the Business Law Department of Plunkett Cooney. A member of the firm's Bloomfield Hills, Michigan office, Baker focuses her practice in the areas of real estate law, mergers and acquisitions, commercial transactions and corporate law.  

John Bommarito ’06, corporate counsel, Attorneys Title Agency LLC, was recognized by Crain’s Detroit Business as a Finalist: Under $10 - $100 Million in the General and In-House Counsel Awards 2014.

Luke Britt '05 was appointed by Indiana Governor Mike Pence to serve as the Indiana Public Access Counselor. In his new role, Britt provides advice and assistance concerning Indiana's public access laws to members of the public, government officials and state employees.

Kathleen S. Corpus ’00 joined Whiteford Taylor & Preston’s Products Liability & Environmental Litigation group as a partner in the firm’s new office in Dearborn, Mich. Corpus focuses on product liability and commercial litigation.

Zenna Faraj Elhasan ’04 was appointed by Wayne County Executive Robert A. Ficano ’77 to lead the Wayne County Corporation Counsel’s office.

Jordan Green '09, founder of, has expanded the site to help Michigan attorneys find new clients.

Matt Guinta ’08 was named Associate Member of the Year by the American Institute of Architects Michigan.

Ziyad I. Hermiz ’08, an attorney in Butzel Long’s Detroit office, was elected vice president of the Chaldean American Bar Association. He previously served on the Board of Directors of the CABA.

L. Nicole Hunter '07, a shareholder of the Allen Law Group, P.C., was honored by the Michigan Women's Lawyers Association (WLAM) with the State Regional Leadership Award. The award recognizes and celebrates the accomplishments of an individual WLAM member who has demonstrated professionalism, excellence, and dedication to furthering the objectives of WLAM.

Ryan Kelly '08 was sworn in as the president elect of the Oakland County Women's Bar Association.

Storm T. Kirschenbaum ’03 was honored by Detroit’s business journal, dbusiness, with the Thirty in their Thirties Award. The award is given to regional business professionals in their 30s who are advancing their companies, industries, and communities.

Kori Loewe ’08, ’11, treatment director for Mariners Inn, was named a member of the Detroit Wayne Mental Health Authority Substance Use Disorder Oversight Policy Board.

Miles T. Macik '01 is now a shareholder in the firm Howard & Howard Attorneys PLLC. He practices out of the firm's Royal Oak, Mich. Office, focusing on a wide range of litigation matters, including but not limited to: automotive and supply chain disputes, business ownership and oppression disputes, and sales representative commission disputes.

Jessica McGrath ’04, ’07, associate general counsel at Certified Restoration Drycleaning Network, was recognized by Crain’s Detroit Business as a Winner: Under $10 Million in the General and In-House Counsel Awards 2014.

Ryann O'Boyle Bunch '04 is now an associate attorney for Maddin, Hauser, Wartell, Roth & Heller, P.C. She specializes her practice in lending and finance and real estate.

Andre O. Perrotta '09 joined the firm Howard & Howard Attorneys, practicing out of the Royal Oak, Mich. Office. He concentrates his practice in Healthcare Regulatory Compliance and Fraud and Abuse Laws.

G. Grace (Gursel) Petz '03 opened a new law office, the Petz Law Firm PLLC, in Troy, Mich. The firm focuses its practice in providing quality estate planning for individuals and families.

Joseph P. Rejano '01 was elected to the partnership at Foley & Mansfield, a national law firm based in Minneapolis. Rejano practices in the firm's Chicago office, with a focus on commercial and civil litigation, including toxic and mass tort defense.

Ana M. Sarcheck '03 joined the Royal Oak office Howard & Howard Attorneys PLLC. She concentrates her practice in intellectual property law, with a primary focus on the preparation and prosecution of patent applications.

Patricia L. Selby '06 was recognized, along with four other attorneys, by the Criminal Defense Attorneys of Michigan (CDAM) for advocacy on the issue of juvenile life without parole. CDAM honored Selby for taking on a defendant who "had been buried alive in the system and whom the Michigan courts had treated with brutal disregard."

Sunjata Smith ’01, was named chief professional officer of the recently established Coffee County Boys and Girls Club in Douglas, Ga.

Steven Sokalsky '07, a resident of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, was promoted to principal of Delcan.

Elizabeth A. (Horbach) Solomon ’07, joined the Ann Arbor, Mich. law firm of Nichols, Sacks, Slank, Sendelbach & Buiteweg, PC. The firm focuses on mediation and other non-adversarial methods to help divorcing couples settle their disputes without going to court.


Matthew G. Berard '12 joined the Bloomfield Hills office of Plunkett Cooney, focusing his practice primarily in the area of insurance coverage.
Patrick M. Edwartowski '12 joined the Southfield, Mich.-based Collins Einhorn Farrell firm, working in the Asbestos/Toxic Tort Practice Group. He will concentrate his practice on asbestos and toxic tort defense litigation.

Meagan Hanna '12 was appointed assistant prosecuting attorney in Grand Traverse, Mich.

Alexander M. Leonowicz '12 joined the firm of Howard & Howard Attorneys PLLC, practicing out of the firm's Royal Oak Office. He concentrates his practice on a wide range of litigation matters and disputes focusing primarily on business and corporate law as well as commercial litigation.

Ashlyn N. Mausolf  '12 joined Burden, Gulisano & Hickey as an attorney.

James R. O’Connor ’10 recently graduated with a Juris Doctor degree from the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University. He joined Damon Morey, LLP in Western New York as an associate. He was also chosen by the National Gang Crime Research Center’s Curriculum Committee to speak at the 17th Annual International Gang Specialist Training Conference, Aug. 11-13, 2014 in Chicago.

Frank D. Paolini '12 joined Plunkett Cooney as a member of the firm's Banking, Bankruptcy & Creditors' Rights Practice Group. Paolini focuses his practice in the areas of loan origination and troubled asset workouts.

Erin L. Stafford '13 joined the Professional Liability Practice Group of Plunkett Cooney in the firm's Bloomfield Hills, Mich. office. Stafford focuses her practice in the area of professional liability with an emphasis on claims against attorneys, accountants, insurance agents and real estate professionals.

Parker G. Stinar '11 joined the firm of McKeen & Associates as an associate. He concentrates his practice in the areas of medical malpractice, wrongful death, general negligence, birth trauma and auto negligence.

Ellisse (Rutkofske) Thompson ’13 joined the tort, litigation and transportation law practice groups of Plunkett Cooney in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. She focuses primarily on motor vehicle negligence and no-fault law.

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