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Law school to honor 4 with Distinguished Alumni Award

Monday, April 03, 2017

LAWRENCE — A veteran, a state government leader, a CEO and a managing partner will be recognized with the University of Kansas School of Law’s highest honor.

Kansas City attorney and U.S. Navy veteran Heywood Davis, Class of 1958; former Kansas Lt. Gov. Thomas Docking, Class of 1980; president and CEO of Wolfe Properties R. Dean Wolfe, Class of 1969, and six-time “Best Lawyers in America” recipient Marie Woodbury, Class of 1979, will receive the 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award, which celebrates graduates for their professional achievements, contributions to the legal field and service to their communities and the university. The awards will be presented at a private dinner April 8 in Lawrence. 

After serving in the U.S. Navy, Heywood “Woody” Davis returned to his alma mater, KU, to earn his law degree. Davis served as editor-in-chief of the Kansas Law Review and was named to the Order of the Coif. After graduation, he clerked for Justice Charles E. Whittaker on the U.S. Supreme Court, then returned to Kansas City to practice law. He started as an associate with Armstrong, Teasdale, Schlafly, Davis & Dicus and currently serves as senior partner at Davis, Sands & Collins.

Thomas Docking completed his bachelor’s in political science and economics at KU in 1976 and his law degree and Master of Business Administration in 1980. He began his tax, business and estate planning practice at Regan & McGannon in Wichita. He was elected lieutenant governor of Kansas under Gov. John Carlin in 1982, serving for four years, and now practices at the Law Offices of Morris Laing. A dedicated community servant, Docking has served on numerous boards, including the Wichita Downtown Development Corporation, Wichita Water Conservation Task Force and the KU Endowment Association’s Far Above Campaign.

R. Dean Wolfe graduated from KU Law in 1969, then joined the law firm of Hoskins, King, McGannon & Hahn in Kansas City, specializing in tax, estate planning and commercial law. He was hired as a staff attorney for The May Department Stores Company in 1972. Wolfe was promoted to executive vice president of acquisitions and real estate in 1996 and elected to May’s board of directors in 1997, helping expand the company into 27 regional malls across the country with a market value of $17 billion. After his retirement from May, Wolfe founded Wolfe Properties LLC in 2005 and currently serves as president and CEO.

Marie Woodbury graduated from Georgetown University with an international affairs degree in 1973. She completed her law degree in 1979 at KU, where she was named to the Order of the Coif and served as articles editor of the Kansas Law Review. She began her legal career at Shook, Hardy & Bacon, specializing in pharmaceutical and medical device litigation. Woodbury received numerous professional honors before retiring from Shook after nearly 40 years. She is a six-time recipient of the Best Lawyers in America distinction, was named one of 25 Women Who Mean Business by the Kansas City Business Journal and was recognized among the Top 50 Women Super Lawyers in Missouri and Kansas.

View previous Distinguished Alumni Award recipients on the law school’s website.

The law school will also recognize James Woods Green Medallion honorees and members of the Dean’s Club. Named after the school’s first dean, the Medallion recognizes the school’s major financial supporters. This year’s honorees include:

  • Martin Bauer, Class of 1975, and Ann Bauer
  • John P. Bowman, Class of 1980
  • Mitchell Chaney, Class of 1981, and Susan Chaney
  • Tim Connell, Class of 1978
  • Dave Dillon
  • Perle and Catherine Frazee Foundation
  • Thomas K. Jones, Class of 1974, and Patricia L. Jones
  • The Kansas Bar Foundation
  • Lawrence Memorial Hospital
  • Linda L. Lee, Class of 1973
  • Chris McKenzie, Class of 1982, and Manuela Albuquerque
  • Tim O’Brien, Class of 1983, and Melinda O’Brien
  • Payne & Jones Foundation
  • Scott Sayler, Class of 1986, and Nancy Sayler
  • Scott Strohm, Class of 1995, and Tracy Strohm
  • Professor Ellen E. Sward, KU School of Law
  • James R. Walters, Class of 1975.