2009 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipients
The Honorable James P. Buchele '66
The Honorable James P. Buchele, '66, was best known in Shawnee County as a district court judge for 18 years. For five years, he was in charge of the county's domestic case docket and was instrumental in forming the first Child Support Guidelines Commission, which revamped the county's child support enforcement policies. Buchele also co-authored Kansas Family Law with Linda Elrod, '71, Washburn University Richard S. Righter Distinguished Professor of Law. He often lectured and wrote on family law issues. Judge Buchele also handled a number of noteworthy civil and criminal cases during his time on the bench.
Buchele was one of the youngest candidates in history to win a seat in the Kansas House of Representatives. He served in the legislature from 1965-72. For four years, Buchele was Topeka city attorney, and then became administrative assistant to Congresswoman Martha Keys in 1975. President Carter appointed Buchele to be the United States Attorney for Kansas in 1977, a position which he held throughout the Carter Administration. Kansas Governor John Carlin then appointed Buchele to the district court.
Judge Buchele served in leadership roles for a number of civic and professional organizations, including the Kansas District Judges Association, the Kansas Bar Association, and the American Judicature Society. As a senior judge, he frequently sat with panels of the Kansas Court of Appeals. After his retirement from the bench, Judge Buchele worked as a mediator and arbitrator for business and family disputes.
Born: September 25, 1941 in Cedar Vale, Kansas
Died: May 29, 2003 in Topeka, Kansas at the age of 62
Philip L. Burton '48
Philip L. Burton, '48, was a renowned Seattle, Washington, civil rights and equal employment opportunity lawyer. After law school, he maintained a law practice with Charles M. Stokes (later Judge), a University of Kansas School of Law graduate. Burton and Stokes were two of only a few African American lawyers practicing in Seattle in the late 1940s and early 1950s.
Burton was instrumental in the desegregation of Seattle's schools, pressing the lawsuit in 1963 that led to the Seattle school district's first program for voluntary transfers to achieve racial parity. Another lawsuit was filed in 1966 on behalf of 30 African American students, which was followed by a successful school boycott. Still another lawsuit was filed in 1977, which ultimately resulted in a consent decree in the United States District Court in 1979, under which the school board adopted a citywide mandatory desegregation plan – the first and largest metropolitan school district in the nation to abolish public school segregation without a direct order by the federal courts. In 1967, Burton worked for the enactment of the state's Fair Housing Act.
When he died in 1995, Burton was praised by Seattle's mayor as "first and foremost a champion of civil rights and the rights of human beings." He was one of the most articulate spokespersons for all disadvantaged individuals. Although an extremely modest man, Burton was the recipient of many honors and awards. Burton was the second Washburn graduate selected for the National Bar Association Hall of Fame.
Born: October 15, 1915 in Topeka, Kansas
Died: July 30, 1995 in Seattle, Washington at the age of 80
William A. "Bill" Buzick '50
William A. "Bill" Buzick, '50, known to everyone as “Bill,” was born in the quaint township of Sylvan Grove, Kansas, a small community that was actually named by Bill's grandfather A. R. Buzick, a cattle rancher and founder of the Sylvan State Bank. Bill was an only child, and his parents dedicated themselves to continuing the family ranching and banking business while encouraging their son to do the same. As a young boy, his first job was horseback riding and mending fences on the cattle ranch. During his teenage years, Bill began working in the bank. These experiences, among others, led Bill to earn an undergraduate degree in history from the University of Kansas in 1942. When World War II swept the country, Buzick served in the U.S. Navy as a lieutenant and gunnery officer on the U.S.S. Destroyer Dewey, in the third fleet under Admiral Halsey, a ship on which Bill survived the infamous Philippines Sea Typhoon on December 18, 1944. After the close of the war, Bill enrolled at Washburn University School of Law.
His education and experience prepared him to become the president of The Shasta Beverages Company, a company he inherited from his mother's father E.P. Hickman. It was during the fifties that Bill transformed The Shasta Beverages Company from its then state of near bankruptcy to a nationally recognized financial success. Bill guided Shasta to become the first company in history to offer soft drinks in a can! Additionally, Bill pioneered a then entirely new market, "diet soda."
In the mid sixties, Bill sold the successful Shasta Company to the Chicago-based conglomerate, Consolidated Foods, which later became the international corporation Sara Lee. Bill quickly rose within the company to the position of chairman of the board and chief executive officer. He remained there until 1976.
Bill became dean and professor at Fresno State (Calif.) University's business school where the students voted him "most popular professor." His vision and leadership were instrumental in the modernization of the business school, and his legacy and impact there continues to be recognized to this day. Over the years, Bill served on the board of directors of various banks and corporations while consulting for numerous businesses and professionals. In 1970, he was Washburn University's Honorary Doctor of Law recipient.
Born: November 4, 1920 in Sylvan Grove, Kansas
Died: December 28, 2000 in Fresno, California at the age of 80
Andrew "Jack" Focht '60
Andrew "Jack" Focht, '60, has almost fifty years of experience as an attorney, and is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. He graduated from Southwestern College (Winfield, Kansas) with a B.A. degree in 1957. At Southwestern, Focht was president of his sophomore and senior class, and president of the student body during his junior year. Focht then attended Washburn University School of Law where he was on the Moot Court team, the Board of Editors for theWashburn Law Journal, was president of the law school student body, and Justice of the Phi Alpha Delta legal fraternity. He received his law degree with honors in 1960.
Focht's practice has ranged from high-profile criminal cases to complex civil litigation. He has directed the defense of numerous individuals and companies targeted for investigation by agencies of the state and federal government. In 1974, as a Special Prosecutor, he gained national prominence for the first successful prosecution in the United States of a murder case without a body. Two years later, Focht was presented with an Outstanding Citizen Award from the Wichita Police Department for risking his life to aid in the capture of the Holiday Inn Sniper.
Focht currently practices as special counsel to Wichita's Foulston Siefkin LLP's health care and litigation practice groups in the areas of health care law, fraud and abuse, white collar crime, civil rights, employment law, professional responsibility, government investigations and business litigation. He enjoys Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory's highest "AV" rating for lawyers and is listed in The Best Lawyers in America, Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers, and Chambers USA as a leading general commercial litigation attorney. He has been involved on a number of boards/commissions, such as the Kansas Board of Law Examiners and President of the Kansas Appleseed Inc.
Born: June 20, 1934 in Omaha, Nebraska
Gerald "Jerry" Goodell '58
Gerald "Jerry" Goodell, '58, is the recipient of three Washburn University degrees: a Bachelor of Business Administration, a Juris Doctor, and the 2002 Honorary Doctor of Law. Since 2003, he has served as of counsel to the Topeka firm of Goodell, Stratton, Edmonds & Palmer. He is currently listed as a leader in the field of real estate law in The Best Lawyers in America and represents real estate brokers, developers, and lenders.
Goodell's leadership has touched numerous organizations, including roles as president of the Washburn University School of Law Alumni Association, president of the Washburn Law School Foundation, chairperson of Washburn Endowment Association, president of the Kansas Bar Association, president of the Topeka Bar Association and chairperson of the Kansas Board of Bar Examiners. Goodell currently serves as a member of the Kansas Judicial Council, chairperson of the Kansas Judicial Council Probate Committee, and as a member of the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission.
Washburn University School of Law honored him with the 1982 Alumni Distinguished Service Award. Goodell was the recipient of the Kansas Bar Association Distinguished Service Award 1993, and the Topeka Bar Association Warren Shaw Award in 1998. In June 2007, Goodell received the Justice Award from the Kansas Supreme Court. Goodell taught classes on trial techniques and real estate mortgages, in addition to his participating in numerous professional panels.
Born: July 31, 1932 in Topeka, Kansas
Samuel C. Jackson '54
Samuel C. Jackson, '54, was a lawyer, civil rights advocate, and spokesman for higher education. He graduated from Topeka High School and received his bachelor's degree from Washburn in 1951. After graduation from Washburn University School of Law, he served in the United States Air Force as Judge Advocate General's Corps Officer until 1957 when he joined the Kansas law firm of Scott, Scott, Scott, and Jackson. He was also the attorney for the Kansas State Welfare Department. In 1965, at the request of President Lyndon B. Johnson, he served as one of the original members to the Equal Opportunity Commission. Three years later, he was appointed Vice President of the American Arbitration Association's Center for Dispute Settlement. President Richard M. Nixon appointed Jackson as Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in 1969. He contributed an article for the Washburn Law Journal that year.
Jackson became a partner in the New York law firm of Stroock, Stroock & Lavan in 1973. Eight years later, Jackson was appointed to the Presidential Housing Commission by President Ronald Reagan. He served on the board of directors for several banks, corporations, and universities. His memberships included the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, National Urban League, Operation PUSH, Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity, and National Bar Association, in addition to numerous other organizations.
Born: May 8, 1929 in Kansas City, Kansas
Died: September 27, 1982 in Washington, D.C. at the age of 53
Richard Brooke McEntire '34
Richard Brooke McEntire, '34, graduated from Topeka High School, Washburn University, and Washburn University School of Law. After law school graduation, he became a partner in the firm of Claussen and McEntire in Topeka specializing in motor carrier work before the Kansas Corporation Commission. McEntire was named a United States Commissioner for the District of Kansas in 1935. Four years later, he was appointed a special attorney by the Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC), and the following year was named secretary of the agency. In 1943, McEntire became the KCC's general counsel, and during 1944 he was named chairman of the Commission. While at KCC, he presided over the proration of the vast Hugoton Gas Field.
McEntire also served on the executive committee and on the special gas committee of the National Association of Railroad and Utilities Commissioners. He was secretary to the Kansas Day Club from 1939-1945.
In March 1946, a predecessor at the Commission returned from war service. McEntire felt so strongly that returning veterans should be reinstated to their old jobs that he resigned from the KCC and returned to private practice. Within a few months, however, President Harry Truman appointed him to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) which was in Philadelphia. He was reappointed in 1948. Two years later, he served as an adviser to United States Treasury Secretary John Snyder at the World Bank and Monetary Fund Conference in Paris. His work was instrumental in the implementation of a Canadian extradition treaty which ended fraudulent securities offers by promoters of Canadian mining ventures. He became Vice Chairman of the SEC in 1950 and also served as Acting Chairman. He resigned from the SEC in 1953 to pursue the private practice of law.
Born: February 19, 1911 in Topeka, Kansas
Died: February 17, 1958 in Bethesda, Maryland at the age of 47
Margaret McGurnaghan '27
Margaret McGurnaghan, '27, was born in India. As a young child, she and her family first lived in Florence, Kansas, before making Topeka her home. At the age of 49 years old, she received the LL.B. cum laude from Washburn University School of Law. She had spent the previous 25 years with a Topeka law firm (then known as Wheeler, Hunt, & Brewster) as a stenographer and being trained in title standards before entering law school. Later, she became a managing partner of the firm. In addition to becoming the first female partner in a large law firm in Topeka, she became one of the first women admitted to practice law in Kansas and also one of the first women to join the Kansas Bar Association. McGurnaghan was prominent in legal aid work for members of the armed forces. She practiced for 33 years before retiring at the age of 84.
She was the chair of the first Title Standards Committee of the Kansas Bar Association, and published a number of articles in the Judicial Council Bulletin on title, real estate and probate issues. McGurnaghan was also an active member of the American Bar Association. From 1945 to 1949, McGurnaghan was secretary-treasurer of the Topeka Bar Association, in addition to serving on the standards for title examination committee. McGurnaghan was national treasurer of Phi Delta Delta women's legal fraternity for 16 years and served as president of the Kansas Women Lawyers Association. At the time of her death, she was honorary vice president of the Association.
She began teaching at Washburn as a lecturer on Abstracts of Title and Conveyancing in 1936, continuing to teach most years through 1959. Never having married, McGurnaghan considered her students to be like her children, and spent considerable time with them.
Born: May 3, 1876 in India
Died: January 5, 1963 in Topeka, Kansas at the age of 86
The Honorable Loren R. Miller '28
The Honorable Loren R. Miller, '28, was one of the most prominent figures in the history of the civil rights movement in California. Born the son of a slave in Pender, Nebraska, he moved to Kansas as a boy, and graduated from Highland (Kansas) High School. After graduating from Washburn University School of Law, he was admitted to the Kansas Bar and worked as a lawyer in Topeka before moving to California to pursue his interest in journalism.
After Miller's cousin from Kansas City, Kansas, started a weekly black newspaper, theLos Angeles Sentinel, he worked there for a time in the early 1930s. Later, writer Langston Hughes and Miller traveled to the Soviet Union. Miller served as legal counsel for Hughes several times. Miller returned to the legal profession in 1933, after passing the California Bar.
Much of Miller's practice was dedicated to representing clients who were fighting discrimination in housing, especially after World War II, when many blacks sought economic opportunities in California. Miller was named co-chair of the West Coast legal committee of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). In that capacity, he became the fi rst attorney to win an unqualified verdict outlawing residential restrictive covenants in real estate sales that involved Federal Housing Administration (FHA) or Veterans Administration (VA) financing.
In 1951, he bought the California Eagle, the oldest newspaper in Los Angeles for the black community. This newspaper continued to press for the complete integration of African Americans in every sector of society, and to protest all forms of Jim Crow laws. He also contributed numerous articles to such journals as The Crisis, The Nation, and Law in Transition.
Two of three cases he argued before the United States Supreme Court involved racially restrictive covenants, including the landmark case, Shelley v. Kraemer, in which both Miller and Thurgood Marshall presented arguments, and the case of Barrows v. Jackson. He joined as counsel on the briefs in Brown v. Board of Education and on amicus curiae briefs in civil rights and First Amendment cases on behalf of the NAACP, the ACLU, and the National Lawyers Guild.
Miller's book, The Petitioners: The Story of the Supreme Court of the United States and the Negro, was written in 1966. He was vice-president of the NAACP, a member of the NAACP's legal committee, and a member of the Civil Rights Committee of the State Bar Association. Miller "explored the possibility of running as a Democrat for Congress, a prospect that excited many in the black community."
In 1964, three years before his death, former governor Edmund G. Brown of California appointed Miller to the Superior Court of California. The Loren Miller Bar Association was founded in August 1968 in Seattle, Washington. The prestigious Loren Miller Legal Services Award, created in 1977 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the State Bar of California, is given annually to a lawyer who has done significant legal work to assist the poor.
With her judicial appointment in 2003, to the Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Robin Miller Sloan (Miller's granddaughter) became the first linear third-generation judge in the history of the California court system. Judge Sloan's father, Loren Miller Jr., served on the bench from 1975-97.
Born: January 20, 1903 in Pender, Nebraska
Died: July 14, 1967 in Los Angeles, California at the age of 64
Mary M. "Billie" Parr '47
While at Washburn Law, Mary M. "Billie" Parr, '47, was elected as a representative to the student council. Parr's husband was career military with frequent moves overseas until his retirement in 1968 when they made Lawrence, Kansas, their home.
After a long career as a litigator working at the Topeka Legal Aid office, Parr joined the Washburn University School of Law faculty in the summer of 1971 to teach courses in the Law Clinic as assistant director. Parr was the second member of the Clinic's faculty. She was known for her ability as a litigator and was extraordinary in helping her students improve their courtroom skills. In 1978, Parr was appointed as the first woman assistant dean for the law school working with a student body of 625 and a faculty of 28 members. Parr's knowledge of the Kansas legal community, and the respect which she had from the community were valuable assets to the law school. Her true passion was teaching third-year students how to practice law and how to take care of clients. Even after retiring from the law school in 1983, she returned as acting associate dean when her successor in that position, Bill Rich, was granted a sabbatical in 1984.
Born: January 24, 1920 in Topeka, Kansas
Died: November 13, 1986 in Lawrence, Kansas, at the age of 66
Dr. Bill Roy Sr. '70
Dr. Bill Roy Sr., '70, received a Bachelor of Science degree from Illinois Wesleyan University in 1946, and an M.D. from Northwestern University Medical School in 1950. Shortly after law school graduation in 1970, Roy, opposed to the Vietnam War and concerned about civil rights and establishing universal health care, changed parties and challenged a three-term incumbent in the historically Republican Second Congressional District of Kansas. Dr. Roy won in the fall and was reelected in 1972.
In 1974, he received more than 49% of the votes running against fellow Washburn Law alumnus Bob Dole, '52, for the United States Senate. From 1975 to 1978, Roy served as a medical educator at Topeka's St. Francis Health Center. He practiced medicine for the next ten years until his retirement.
Dr. Roy wrote and passed legislation which increased the number of nurses and primary care physicians, promoted emergency care and health planning, and established the National Cancer Institute. In 1973, he was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Sciences. In 1976, he gave the Shattuck Lecture of the Massachusetts Medical Society, later published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
He has received two honorary doctorates, has served on the Washburn Board of Regents, Kansas Board of Regents, and the Board of Regents of the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences, the military's medical school. As honorary visiting professor, he enjoys conferring with political science students.
Born: February 23, 1926 in Bloomington, Illinois