Keeping alumni and friends connected to U-M

Alumni Notes

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James P. Spica,
Dickinson Wright PLLC is pleased to announce that James P. Spica has joined the firm's Trusts, Estates and Private Client Services team as a member in the Detroit office. Mr. Spica specializes in estate and tax planning for private clients requiring sophisticated wealth management, advises corporations and individuals on the formation and operation of tax-exempt organizations, provides general and special representations to bank trust departments, private trust companies and public charities and serves as expert witness in litigation involving estate administration and tax planning issues. Mr. Spica has been a clerk on the U.S. Tax Court and has held a series of law professorships at Wayne State University and the University of Detroit Mercy where he lectured, most recently as a tenured Associate Professor, on taxation, trusts and decedents' estates. He is listed in The Best Lawyers in America, is co-author of the Michigan Estate Planning Handbook (2nd ed. 2006 & Supp.), is a member of the Council (governing body) of the Probate and Estate Planning Section of the State Bar of Michigan and a consultant to the Trust Counsel Committee of the Michigan Bankers Association.

Richard Keydel Meinke,

Dr. Meinke passed away at his home, surrounded by family, on March 7, 2010 after a brief illness. A Memorial Service was held on March 21, 2010 at 2:00 P.M. at the First Presbyterian Church of Mason.

lois wells santalo,
Dorothea in the Mirror by Lois Wells Santalo: U/M graduate Jill marries a Jewish refugee now in the campus army language program,only to see him charged with murder. Could he possibly be guilty or has he escaped Hitler's deadly assault only to become enmeshed in the American legal system? Only Jill can find the answer, since the police believe they have their man.

James A. Samborn,
James A. Samborn has been elected Chairman of Dickinson Wright PLLC. He shares this role with Mr. Edward H. Pappas, a University of Michigan Alumnus, who also was elected Chairman. In addition to his practice as a commercial litigator specializing in the areas of construction law and alternative dispute resolution, Mr. Samborn for the past 10 years served as the firm's CEO. He is a member in the firm's Detroit and Ann Arbor, Michigan offices. Throughout his career, he has been lead counsel in a wide variety of sophisticated and complex construction and commercial litigation matters in various State and Federal courts, and in arbitration and other ADR proceedings. He has more than 30 years of experience in the construction industry, representing owners, developers, contractors, subcontractors, suppliers and engineers. Mr. Samborn is a member of the American Arbitration Association's Large, Complex Case Panel of Arbitrators and its Panels of Construction and Commercial Arbitrators, and is a member of the ABA's Forum on the Construction Industry. Mr. Samborn received both his B.S.E. (summa cum laude) and his J.D. (magna cum laude) from the University of Michigan.

Dawn New-Echlin,
Two University of Michigan grads have successfully come together to form a Michigan based company. Eco-Logic Lawn and Landscape LLC is a 100% organic, chemical free, lawn and landscape fertilization and maintenance company. We have taken our passion for the environment and the passion for protecting our families and made a winning combination.

Edward H. Pappas,
Edward H. Pappas has been elected Chairman of Dickinson Wright PLLC. He shares this role with Mr. James a Samborn, also a University of Michigan Alumnus, who also was elected Chairman. Mr. Pappas, a member of the firm's Bloomfield Hills, Michigan office, focuses his practice in complex commercial and business litigation, arbitration and mediation. He has more than 36 years experience in all forms of civil litigation, but is recognized as an expert in business tort litigation, having written the definitive treatise on Michigan Business Torts. He is listed in Best Lawyers in America for Commercial and Bet-The-Company Litigation, Chambers USA Leading Lawyers for Business, Michigan Super Lawyers, and Benchmark Litigation as a Local Litigation Star. Mr. Pappas also is a certified mediator and a Fellow of the American College of Civil Trial Mediators, having mediated hundreds of complex civil cases, and serves as an arbitrator on the American Arbitration Association's Large Complex Case Panel. Mr. Pappas is the immediate past president of the State Bar of Michigan, and is a past president of the Oakland County Bar Association. He has served on the boards of trustees of Oakland Community College and Oakland Mediation Center, as well as President of the former Oakland Livingston Legal Aid. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Thomas M. Cooley Law School, and in 2009 was selected as one of the Top 25 Leaders in the Law by Michigan Lawyers Weekly. Mr. Pappas received both his B.B.A. in Business Administration and his J.D. (cum laude) from the University of Michigan.

Joan Weiss,
Joan Weiss is included in the exhibition, "inside/out": Bay Area Abstraction" at the Marin MOCA in February, 2010. She also exhibits at Mercury 20 Gallery in Oakland, CA. Her recent one person show at Mercury 20 was "Reckless Blooms" in 2009.

Linda J. Savoyard,
Linda Savoyard recently authored the newly published book "Mid-Life Makeover: Getting Healthy, Happy and Financially Secure in the Second Half of Life" which is available on or through her website Ms. Savoyard has pursued an unusual dual career: she holds an engineering degree from U of M and has been employed by Chrysler LLC for over 26 years; she is also a board certified Licensed Professional Counselor with Masters degrees in Counseling and Business Administration. She is an experienced therapist, college instructor, professional speaker and corporate trainer. She and her husband Dan live in Michigan.

Douglas Smith,
Douglas Smith, DMA in Trumpet Performance, 1969, has taken full retirement after 34 1/2 years as Professor of Church Music at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.

Brian Robson,
Oracle recently announced Brian Robson as an alternate member to the Higher Education User Group (HEUG) Product Advisory Group — Student Financials. Since 1997, Brian has supported U-M as a business analyst in the Student Administration-Financial Aid and Students Financial Group. As an alternate, Brian will hold a one-year, non-voting membership. He will solicit and synthesize feedback from the user community to convey to Oracle product strategists and developers. He will also advocate to Oracle, on behalf of the user community, for enhancements, new functionality, and resolutions to problems. He is currently working with a group to create a whitepaper on refunding improvements. The HEUG is an international organization consisting of universities that use application software from the Oracle Corporation. Oracle is currently the software behind U-M's Pathways Financials, Physical Resources, Student Administration and Human Resources Management systems. Brian earned at Bachelor of Music in 1983 and a Master of Music in 1984 from the University of Michigan.

Pat Mullahy,
Pat is currently in his 25th year of delivering mail for the U.S. Postal Service. Only 8 more to go and he'll earn a government pension! Pat reports he has met many interesting people on his route over the years. And some angry dogs!! Sometimes when he is walking between houses he fondly hearkens back to the many hours he spent studying at the UGLi (do they still call it that?) [Editor's note: Yes!]. He is still a loyal follower of Michigan football and even gets to attend a game now and then--even though he has to work most Saturdays. Pat wants to send out well wishes to all his fellow Markley-ites where he spent all four glorious years. Hey do they still serve those hockey pucks they passed off as hamburgers? How about those "mi-NUTE" steaks? Oh yea, Pat remembers. Pat met his lovely wife at the post office (yes a fellow mail carrier) and they have two small....beagles named Blueberry (as in Go Blue Berry) and Waffle. Pat, his wife and beagles report that they are ALL IN for Rich-Rod even though the Wolverines lost their final 5 games after Pat met the Coach at his radio show last fall....UH OH!! Pat wants to give special greetings to all U-M alumni currently carrying mail. Keep pounding that pavement (postal jargon)!

Paul R. Eberts,
Paul Eberts and his brother Harry have published a new book on The Jesus Movement and Its Parties: A New Way to Look at the New Testament. Their book provides a sociological perspective on the New Testament whereby its books and letters are seen as outcomes of four cooperating but also contending parties founded soon after Jesus' death. The parties grew out of four different ethnic segments in Roman society -- the Disciples from Galillee; the Brethren from Jewish synagogues in Jerusalem; the Hellenists from Jews in places outside Palestine, and the Apostles who ministered to Gentiles. Each party produced a gospel and other writings that expressed their particular viewpoints. The book can be found on

William T. Burgess,
Dickinson Wright announces the election of the firm's new Chief Executive Officer, William T. Burgess. Burgess succeeds James A. Samborn, who has served as the firm's CEO for the past 10 years. Burgess, a graduate of the University of Michigan and Yale Law School, has enjoyed a 25-year career at Dickinson Wright following a clerkship with the Michigan Supreme Court. He practices in the firm's Detroit office in the areas of creditors rights, insolvency and commercial law.

James A. Burns Jr.,
For the fourth consecutive year, James A. Burns, Jr. (B.A. '77, J.D. '80) has been named an Illinois Super Lawyer, an honor given to the top 5% of the attorneys in the state, in the area of Employment and Labor. During 2009, Jim was quoted more than a dozen times by the National Law Journal and other leading publications on key Supreme Court employment cases, and was the only attorney quoted by USA Today in its front-page story on the Court's closely watched case involving claims of "reverse discrimination" against New Haven firefighters. Jim is a partner at Reed Smith LLP in Chicago.

John Gregg,
has been elected a partner at Barnes & Thornburg LLP in Grand Rapids, effective Jan. 1, 2010. Mr. Gregg received his B.A. in 1996 from the University of Michigan. He is a member of Barnes & Thornburg’s Finance, Insolvency and Restructuring Department, and has extensive experience representing secured creditors, debtors, committees, asset purchasers and other parties in interest in reorganizations, liquidations and other insolvency proceedings. He has been involved in numerous bankruptcies and workouts in various industries, including automotive, manufacturing, real estate, airline, investment banking and retail.

Pamela Hyde,
was recently nominated by President Obama, and confirmed by the US Senate, to be the Administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), an agency within the US Department of Health and Human Services.

Wendy Uhlmann,
received the National Society of Genetic Counselors Outstanding Volunteer Award in recognition of outstanding achievement and leadership on November 14, 2009 at the National Society of Genetic Counselors Annual Education Conference in Atlanta, GA.

Margaret Mallory,

Margaret Mallory announces the release of KNIGHT OF PLEASURE (ALL THE KING'S MEN). Available in bookstores everywhere, December.

Lady Isobel Hume is an expert swordswoman who knows how to choose her battles. When the king asks her to wed a French nobleman to form a political alliance, she agrees. But that's before the devilishly charming Sir Stephen Carleton captures her heart-and tempts her to forget her duty to her betrothed, her king, and her country.

Sir Stephen Carleton enjoys his many female admirers-until he dedicates himself to winning the lovely Isobel. When a threat against the king leads Isobel into mortal danger, Stephen must prove that he is more than a knight of pleasure ... and that love can conquer all.

Portia Trenholm Hamlar,
has published a memoir and family history, "A Sense of Humor Helps." This book is a family history covering the period 1830 through 2004 and includes my memoir and life in the south for African Americans prior to the 1964 Civil Rights Act. This book was published by Equity Press on 4/8/09. It is available on under my maiden name, Trenholm, as author.

Nami Mun,
won a 2009 Whiting Award. The awards, which are $50,000 each, totaling $500,000, have been given annually since 1985 to writers of exceptional talent and promise in early career. Nami won in the fiction category for her novel "Miles from Nowhere." Born in Seoul, South Korea, she now lives in Chicago.

Susan Valiquett,
Sue Valiquett is the author of "The Rock People," a children's book with an eco-friendly message that is fresh, fun and interactive. "The Rock People" is a story about a little girl named Nae-Nae who discovers that rocks have faces. Through a family legend, Nae-Nae learns the Rock People are here to heal and protect the Earth. The Rock People story weaves the intuitive nature of rock collecting, the emotional faces on rocks and the magic of legend to enlighten a child to Earth's fragility and their power to help. The Rock People is printed in the USA on eco-friendly paper. To purchase a copy and learn more please visit our kid-friendly website at

Wessam Ibrahim,

Wessam writes us: "When I went Scuba diving in the Red Sea this weekend I had to represent U-M under water where we definitely GO BLUEEEEE. There was 3 of us who had met in Michigan, and we all ended up meeting for a Scuba trip in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia for a Red Sea Coral Reef exploration. Just thought that it was cool that we had this meet-up after graduating three years ago. Us Wolverines, we are everywhere. A group of us will also be holding the first Middle East Alumni Conference in Dubai on the 24th of October , 2009, and we will be visited by Ms. Jo Rumsey, Vice President of the Michigan Alumni Association at the University of Michigan for the opening. GO BLUE!!"

Nathaniel Sutton,
Nathaniel Sutton is a musician and songwriter. He's just released a new album, Starlite. You can hear and purchase it on his website.

Eseohe Arhebamen,

Edoheart (Eseohe Arhebamen) is teaching another dance workshop at The Living Theatre, expecting a poetry chapbook publication from Laughing Mouse Press, designing a limited clothing label with another U-M alum, Angela (Youells) Sweet, and working on an album. Since graduating from U-M, she has performed in New York, South Korea, Nigeria, Finland, Germany, Estonia and Latvia; and has been featured in publications for The Diverse Universe Festival, The Korea Experimental Arts Festival, The Low Lives Exhibition and the Ukrainian monthly magazine of cultural resistance, "SHO" and opened for The Wailers as a former member of the Afro-beat band, NOMO. Follow Edoheart at

M. Dujon Johnson,
  1. M. Dujon Johnson's first book 'Race and racism in the Chinas: Chinese racial attitudes toward Africans and African-Americans was a 2008 NAACP Image Award nominee for 'Outstanding Literary Work, Non-Fiction.'
  2. Mr. Johnson was named in International visiting scholar at Taiwan Foundation for Democracy, the only think tank in Asia devoted to promoting democracy.( Mr. Johnson is the first African-American to be named a visiting scholar at this prestigious institute.
  3. M. Dujon Johnson received his Doctorate of Philosopy in 2009 from National Sun Yat-sen University in Taiwan. Dr. Johnson is the first African-American to receive a Ph.D. from a university in the Republic of China.

Janet Anderson Platt,

Hello to anyone who remembers our fun times at the school of Music 78-79. Also thank you to those of you who followed me to Iowa to play and sing at my first wedding. Yes, a few more did follow. Hope to hear from you.

Davi Napoleon,
Davi Napoleon, LSA '66, Rackham '68, writes Theater Talk, a column for the new online paper, The Faster Times. Theater Talk explores issues and trends in the commercial and not-for-profit theater and profiles theater artists and managers.

Courtney Conover,

Like most dog lovers, Courtney Conover will never forget her first dog, Prince – though she never thought he would inspire a story that would be included in an internationally published book. But that’s precisely what happened for Conover, the former deputy mayor of Westland, who is cooking up a new career: author. Her story, Prince of Pleasure, will appear in Chicken Soup for the Soul: What I Learned from the Dog which is scheduled to arrive in bookstores September 22, 2009. In the book dog lovers delight readers with humorous, heartwarming, and inspiring stories about lessons their canine friends and family members have taught them.

Conover’s story focuses on how her German shepherd-beagle mix, maintained a zest for life despite a number of health challenges. Conover says that writing the story was the first step in allowing her own passion to charter her life’s course, which eventually led to the decision to pursue writing seriously.

“Prince lived life with the uncanny combination of gusto and compassion in a way that only a dog can and we as people should. Quite simply, he lived in the moment,” writes Conover. “If we fail to experience pleasure, if we fail to experience excitement…don’t we fail to experience life?”

After graduating from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Conover went on to become a television reporter and producer for WLTX News 19 in Columbia, South Carolina. She has also worked as an auto show product specialist and narrator for Honda and Jaguar. In 2007 she was appointed deputy mayor of Westland; she resigned in May 2009 to focus on writing. Her work has appeared in the Ann Arbor Observer, Woman’s Life Magazine, and The Artisan’s Well. She and her husband, Scott, a former Detroit Lions Offensive lineman-turned-personal chef, reside in Wayne, Michigan.

Joe Fairchild,
Joe Fairchid is currently running across the United States in order to raise money for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. He left Boston in August and is planning on finishing in L.A. You can read an article about his run here, or go to his website, for more information.

Kendrick Brown,

Prof. Kendrick Brown, who received his MA in 1996 and his PhD in 1998 from the University of Michigan, is the new Associate Dean of the Faculty at Macalester College.

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