Photograph: Alumna meeting with student.

Washburn University School of Law Legacy Family

2022 Recipient

Photograph: Michaud family members.
The Michaud Family.

The Michaud family is honored with the Washburn University School of Law Legacy Family Award. This award recognizes the families who have carried the Washburn Law tradition across generations. It is bestowed on a family in which two or more members of the family – generational or through marriage – are law school graduates, and who as a group have distinguished themselves through service to Washburn Law School, the legal profession, their communities, or public service. Gerald L. Michaud*, BA ’51, JD ’51, H ’86, Patrick J. Michaud, ’76, Cameron V. Michaud-Drumright, ’02, and Greg A. Drumright, ’02, were the members of the family receiving this award.

Gerald Michaud, B.A. ’51, J.D. ’51, H ’86 (deceased, 2005), was a world-class medical malpractice lawyer who never forgot his alma mater, Washburn University. Some of Michaud’s ground-breaking cases resulted in the reduction of estrogen in birth control pills, the introduction of safety precautions at gasoline pumps to reduce the risk of cancer from benzene and the reformulation of tampons connected to toxic shock syndrome. He retired in 1995, only to come out of retirement in 2002 to help one of his daughters, Cameron V. Michaud-Drumright, ’02, advance her career in law. He retired again in April, 2005, saying he thought she was ready to practice on her own. Michaud was awarded an honorary doctor of law from Washburn in 1986 and was given the Distinguished Service Award in 1997.

Patrick Michaud, ’76 (son), practiced law until the age of 40 when he retired . Upon retirement, he invested his time in serving communities where he resided. Living in Maui for over 10 years, he was heavily involved in his children’s athletics, coaching soccer and little league baseball, ultimately managing baseball and umpiring, and becoming a chief umpire in a program that taught high school students to umpire games. Michaud moved his family back to Kansas, enjoying retirement for a few years while spending time with ailing relatives, including his father. After the passing of his father, he relocated to central Florida where he volunteered in a project to restore a historic building that had been ruined in a hurricane, ultimately becoming the construction manager. He and his wife intended to become “snowbirds,” but loved their next home in Spokane, Washington, so much that they decided to stay there for several years before retiring again to Gold Canyon, Arizona, where they reside permanently.

Cameron V. Michaud-Drumright, ’02 (daughter), upon graduation from law school, joined Morris Laing to work with her father, Gerald L. Michaud. Her areas of practice include not only medical malpractice, product liability, and wrongful death cases, but also semi-truck and major motor vehicle collisions. Michaud-Drumright concentrates most of her practice on personal injury cases and has developed strategies to mitigate the impact of the “tort reform” attitudes held by many jurors. She has served on the board for the Wichita Women’s Attorneys Association, Junior League of Wichita, and the Wichita Collegiate Alumni Association. She has been recognized as the Kansas Association for Justice Thomas E. Sullivan Award recipient and the Wichita Business Journal’s Women Who Lead Legal Honoree.

Greg Drumright, ’02 (son-in-law), within Wichita’s legal and business communities is known as a skilled litigator representing clients in corporate matters, including contract disputes, construction law, products liability, agricultural law, and general commercial liability. He has litigated in state and federal courts throughout the country. Drumright is a graduate of the International Association of Defense Counsel Trial Academy at Stanford Law School, is a member of the Wichita Area Manufacturers Association, and the Kansas Association of Defense Counsel. He and his wife are both active members of the Washburn School of Law Alumni Association and have supported the new law school building.

2021 Recipient

Photograph: Sherman A. Parks, Senior. Photograph: Sheridan Parks. Photograph: Sherman A. Parks, Junior. Photograph: Blanche Williams Parks.
The Honorable Sherman A. Parks, Sr.; Sheridan Parks;
Sherman A. Parks, Jr.; Blanche Williams Parks.

Photograph: Michael A. Parks. Photograph: James Parks. Photograph: Julia Etta Parks. Photograph: James H. Parks.
Michael A. Parks; James Parks; Julia Etta Parks, Ph.D.; James H. Parks.

The Honorable Sherman A. Parks Sr., BBA '49, JD '55, H '90, was the highest ranking African-American judicial officer and the first African-American appellate judge in Kansas, serving 1977-87 on the Kansas Court of Appeals. He also served as assistant attorney general, deputy assistant, and chief legal counsel for the secretary of state’s office. Parks was a member and chair of the Washburn University board of regents from 1968-76 and an adjunct professor at Washburn Law. He received a Distinguished Service Award from Washburn in 1987, an honorary doctor of law in 1990, and a posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award from Washburn Law in 2007.

Sheridan Parks, BBA '49, twin brother to Sherman A. Parks Sr., was business manager at the University of Maryland. He retired as acting regional director of Housing and Urban Development in Philadelphia, encompassing a seven-state region.

Sherman A. Parks Jr., BA '72, JD '75, was a Topeka lawyer with a career in public service as deputy assistant secretary of state, a member of the Kansas revisor of statutes office and a member of the Kansas Parole Board. He served 1988-95 on the Topeka Public Schools board of education and was president 1992-93. He was a major force behind Hummer Sports Park in Topeka, and USD 501 named a baseball field in his honor.

Blanche Williams Parks, B Ed '72, M Ed '76, wife of the late Sherman A. Parks Jr., is a member and past chair of the Washburn board of regents. At the state treasurer’s office, she implemented and directed the Kansas 529 college savings program, which was ranked a top five college savings programs in the nation. She was the first Kansan on the YWCA USA national board of directors. Her son, Michael A. Parks AA '13, is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.

James Parks, BA '49, brother of the late Sherman A. Parks Sr., was one of the coaches of Topeka High School’s segregated African-American basketball team, the Ramblers. He retired from the wholesale drug business.

Julia Etta Parks, B Ed '59, M Ed '64, wife of James, served 1964-92 as a professor of education at Washburn and was chair of the education/health, physical education, and dance department. At Washburn, she received the 1983 Teaching Excellence Award and was honored with an Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award in 1994. The Julia Parks Honor Award in the education department is named in her memory.

James H. Parks, B Music '66, son of James and Julia, was a nationally recognized singer, conductor, teacher, and lecturer who also had an international reputation as an opera performer. He founded the Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Co. and taught at numerous colleges. He was made a knight of the Brotherhood of St. Christopher in Austria in recognition of his performances in Europe. Washburn honored him as an Alumni Fellow in 1993.

2019 Recipient

Photograph: Kala, Fred, and Angela Spigarelli.
Kala '90, Fred '70, and Angela '98 Spigarelli.

Fred Spigarelli started a solo practice in Pittsburg, Kansas, right after graduating from Washburn University School of Law. Through the years, several other lawyers have worked with him, and now it's his two daughters who are practicing beside him at The Spigarelli Law Firm. Kala Spigarelli and Angela Spigarelli grew up in Pittsburg around their father's practice before going away for undergraduate degrees. Kala went to Arizona State University and Angela to the University of Kansas. They were both drawn to legal careers and chose Washburn University School of Law to further their education because of their father.

Kala worked at a large firm in Kansas City after graduating, and Angela worked in a few places throughout the country. They both wanted to come back to be part of what their father had built. Kala started at the firm in 1992 and Angela in 2011. The family has offices in Pittsburg, Overland Park, and Coffeyville, and their areas of practice include personal injury, workers' compensation, and general litigation.