Washburn Law Alumni Association Honors Seven with Awards

Seven individuals were honored at the Washburn Law Alumni Association's annual awards luncheon on Friday, June 21, 2013. The awards luncheon was held in conjunction with the Kansas Bar Association Annual Meeting, June 19-21, in Wichita.

The Honorable C. William “Bill” Ossmann, '77, received the Distinguished Service Award. Washburn University School of Law Professor Gregory J. Pease is this year's recipient of the Honorary Life Member Award, and Lifetime Achievement Awards were presented to Nola Tedesco Foulston, '77Dr. Max M. Halley, '66Mark V. Heitz, '77; Congressman Dennis W. Moore, '70; and Ronald E. Wurtz, '73.

Photograph: Judge Bill Ossmann.The Distinguished Service Award is bestowed on graduates of Washburn Law who have particularly distinguished themselves and brought recognition to the school through their service to Washburn University School of Law, the legal profession, their community, or public service. Judge Ossmann is presently a District Court Judge in Shawnee County, Kan. Before he was appointed to the bench in August 2012, he was the Chief Litigation Attorney for the Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services for a few months. He had earlier held a similar position with the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services (later the Department for Children and Families). He assumed that position in November 1997.

Photograph: Professor Greg Pease.The Honorary Life Membership is awarded annually to a non-graduate. The recipient of this honor is someone who has provided an exemplary service to their profession, community, and Washburn University School of Law. Professor Pease taught at Washburn Law for 37 years and served as a member of the Admissions Committee for many years. He has been a repeated recipient of the William O. Douglas Professor of the Year teaching award presented at spring commencement for the law school. He retired from the faculty of Washburn Law after the 2013 spring semester. 

The Lifetime Achievement Award is bestowed on graduates whose careers havebeen highly distinguished, and whose achievements and contributions are widely recognized as significant and outstanding in their field of endeavor, whether it bein the practice of law, the judiciary, business, public service, education, or otherwise.

Photograph: Nola Foulston.Nola Tedesco Foulston retired in 2013 after 24 years as the elected District Attorney to join the Wichita law firm of Hutton & Hutton LLC as a trial attorney who specializes in personal injury, medical malpractice, and complex tort litigation.

Photograph: Dr. Max Halley.While practicing surgery, Dr. Max M. Halley attended Washburn Law, received his juris doctor degree, and was admitted to the Kansas Bar. He used his legal education to teach legal issues to physicians, and to promote better understanding between the professions.

Photograph: Mark Heitz.Mark V. Heitz joined the Board of Directors of American Investors Life Insurance Company (AIL) in June 1986 and became a founding Director of Amvestors Financial Corporation, the parent company of AIL, in August 1986. In October 1986 he became President of AIL and in December 1986 he also became President of AmVestors, beginning a 25 year career with these entities. He retired at the end of 2011 and continues in a consulting role.

Photograph: Congressman Dennis Moore.After service in the U.S. Army and U.S. Reserve, Congressman Dennis W. Moore started his legal career as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Kansas. He entered private legal practice in Johnson County in 1973. In 1976, Congressman Moore was elected District Attorney in Johnson County and was reelected twice, serving a total of 12 years. During his tenure, he earned the reputation as a tough, but fair prosecutor. Congressman Moore was elected in 1998 to the U.S. House of Representatives from the Third District of Kansas. 

Photograph: Ron Wurtz.Early in his career, Ronald E. Wurtz served as a Shawnee County Assistant District Attorney. He was the Chief Public Defender in Shawnee County from 1979 to 1994 and then Chief of the Death Penalty Defense Unit of the Kansas State Public Defender System until 1998. Wurtz served as an Assistant Federal Public Defender, First Assistant, and Acting Federal Defender for the District of Kansas from 1998 until his retirement in 2013. Wurtz served as a U.S. Air Force Judge Advocate, retiring in 1997 after 22 years of active and reserve service. 

These awards are given annually by the Washburn University School of Law Alumni Association and are selected by the association's board of governors. The Distinguished Service Award and the Honorary Life Membership Award have been awarded since 1963. The Lifetime Achievement Award was created in 2007.