UMKC School of Law Alumni Honorees Announced

Seven individuals will be honored for their dedication to the law school and legal profession at The Big Event: Come Fly With Me on February 17, 2018 at the Hilton President Hotel. Purchase sponsorships for tables, events or tickets for The Big Event.

To read their full bios, visit the Alumni Awards page.

Decade Award – Michael “Shaun” Stallworth (’08)

Shaun Stallworth is an associate at Holman Schiavone, LLC. Stallworth previously served as a legal intern to the Honorable Harold L. Lowenstein of the Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District. Stallworth also worked for several years at a big defense firm representing large companies.


Pat Kelly Service Award – Gary Gose (’97)

Gary Gose serves as Vice President, Tax and Assistant Treasurer at Compass Minerals International, Inc. He has demonstrated exemplary dedication and service as the treasurer of the UMKC Law Foundation. Gary is also a board of director member at Tax Executives Institute. 


Pro Bono/Public Service Award – Gina Chiala (‘06)

Gina Chiala is the Executive Director and Staff Attorney for the Heartland Center for Jobs and Freedom. Gina has years of experience with both social justice campaigns and public interest litigation. Gina began her career as a public defender and later moved onto Slough Connealy Irwin & Madden, Kansas City’s oldest and best known public interest law firm. She is motivated by a strong belief that one’s income should not determine the quality of one’s legal representation.

Lifetime Achievement Award – Timothy D. O’Leary  (‘56)

 After 20 years of public service as a Jackson County Circuit Judge, Timothy O’Leary returned to private practice where his experience as a trial judge, in trying hundreds of cases, makes him valuable to clients in the resolution of disputes. His practice concentrates on alternative dispute resolution, including arbitration and mediation, in cases of all degrees of complexity, often involving millions of dollars. O’Leary has also conducted numerous mock jury trials and has mediated and arbitrated and estimated 2,000 cases since his return to practice. 

Philanthropy Award – Kemper Family Foundations

The Kemper Family Foundations is a long-time supporter of the School of Law. The School received a $1.4 million gift from the Kemper Family Foundations of Kansas City for the Advocacy Program. The gift will establish the Douglas R. Stripp Chair in Advocacy and the Stripp Fellows Program.  Mr. Stripp, a 1926 University of Missouri graduate, was a well-known lawyer in Kansas City and the Chair honors his legacy of nurturing young lawyers in the early stages of their careers.  The Kemper Family Foundations will be also be recognized as the largest donor in almost 125 history of the law school. 

President’s Award –  Chief Justice Zel Fischer (’88) 

Chief Justice Zel M. Fischer was appointed to the Supreme Court of Missouri in October 2008. He is currently serving a two-year term as chief justice from July 2017 through June 2019. He graduated from UMKC School of Law with distinction and served on the Law Review. Zel served as a law clerk for the Honorable Andrew Jackson Higgins, Supreme Court of Missouri.  He was elected to Associate Circuit Judge in 4th Judicial Circuit. 

President’s Award  – Mayor Sylvester “Sly” James. Jr.

The Honorable Sylvester “Sly” James has played a critical role in opening extraordinary opportunities for faculty and students at the School of Law. In all of his roles as an accomplished attorney, leader in the profession, and mayor of Kansas City, he has time and again given his energy and support to law school events and initiatives.  Heralded as one of the most innovative mayors in the country, he has been a partner with the law school in its efforts to provide students opportunities to learn how to be entrepreneurial, tech-savvy, interdisciplinary partners in improving our community.

Published: Feb 5, 2018