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Alumni Recognition Reception

  • Sunila Thomas-George

  • Philmore H. Colburn II

  • Michael A. Fenton

  • Kathleen E. Dion

  • The Honorable William J. Meade

Western New England University School of Law will hold its Annual Alumni Recognition Reception on October 4, 2019 at the Sheraton Springfield Monarch Place in Springfield, MA. The event is hosted by the Law Alumni Association to recognize the professional accomplishments of law alumni and includes presentation of the Dean's Alumni Excellence Award, Ascending Alumni Award, and the Distinguished Alumni Award. Dean Sudha Setty will deliver opening remarks to the assembled alumni and friends, and Jonathan Longobardi L’10, president of the School of Law Alumni Association, will preside over the ceremony.

Sunila Thomas-George L’95

This is award is given at the discretion of the Dean to an alumnus/a whose professional accomplishments bring credit to the Western New England University School of Law and who has a record of service to the school, community, state, nation, or world that demonstrates the core values of the School.

Reappointed as the Chairwoman of the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination by Governor Charles D. Baker, in September 2018, Attorney George continues to serve the people of the Commonwealth in her fifth consecutive term as a Commissioner at the MCAD.

As a Commissioner, Attorney George is responsible for the administration, adjudication, and education of civil rights matters in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. She serves as the Investigating Commissioner on cases filed south of Boston, in the southeastern part of the state, Cape Cod and the Islands, and holds public hearings on various cases found to have Probable Cause. Attorney George is a certified mediator and trainer in areas of discrimination and sexual harassment. Attorney George is an adjunct professor at Suffolk University Law School; she serves as a faculty presenter in seminars and on panels for the Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education (MCLE); and she is a frequent speaker at local, state and affinity Bar Association events.

Attorney George is the recipient of several prestigious awards including the 2019 Lawyer’s Weekly 50 Top Women of Law award, the 2018 SABA Outstanding Achievement Award, the Manuel Carballo Governor’s Award for Excellence in Public Service, the Executive Branch Award for Excellence in Government Legal Services, and in 2016, she received an Honorary Doctorate of Laws degree from Wheaton College.  Attorney George serves as a member of the Advisory Board for the South Asian Bar Association of Greater Boston (SABA GB).  She is a proud graduate of Wheaton College and Western New England University School of Law.

Philmore H. Colburn II L’91

This is award is given at the discretion of the Dean to an alumnus/a whose professional accomplishments bring credit to the Western New England University School of Law and who has a record of service to the school, community, state, nation, or world that demonstrates the core values of the School.

Co-Managing Partner Phil Colburn has transformed Cantor Colburn into one of the nation’s leading intellectual property law firms. Phil leads a team of more than 100 attorneys, patent agents, and technical advisors who are committed to helping clients optimize their IP assets through the timely delivery of top quality, cost-effective legal services.

His counsel to Fortune 50 multinationals, as well as smaller companies and universities, is informed both by unique technical insights gained from his years of professional experience as a design engineer and by strategic perspectives derived from more than 25 years’ practice as an IP attorney. Taking a proactive, results-driven approach allows him to help clients define their needs and implement strategies that achieve their objectives. A frequent speaker on IP issues, Phil was an adjunct professor of Patent Law and Copyright Law at Western New England University School of Law.

Phil received his JD from Western New England University School of Law, and also holds degrees from the University of Massachusetts and Northeastern University.

Michael A. Fenton L’12

The Ascending Alumni Award spotlights the achievements of alumni who graduated within the last 10 years from the School of Law. Recipients are those who have shown leadership in a chosen field or in the community. The recipients stand out among peers and display a great deal of drive and potential.

Michael A. Fenton is a shareholder at Shatz, Schwartz and Fentin, P.C., a nationally recognized law firm primarily serving New England and eastern New York. He is a member of the bar in both Massachusetts and Connecticut and concentrates his practice in the areas of business planning, commercial real estate, and estate planning.

 A member of the class of 2012, Attorney Fenton is a law review alumnus and earned a Master of Business Administration from the Western New England University School of Business in 2011.

 Attorney Fenton is well-recognized as a leader in the law. He has been rated as a Super Lawyer every year since 2014. He was also named one of the “Top 25 Up and Coming Attorneys” in 2014 by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly and is a member of the BusinessWest 40 Under Forty class of 2012.

 Michael represents principals in business formation and succession planning, businesses in the purchase and sale of enterprises, lenders and borrowers in commercial financing transactions, developers in the acquisition and permitting of projects, and individuals in establishing comprehensive and sophisticated estate plans. His clients range from small closely held businesses to large multi-national corporations. In addition to his law practice, Attorney Fenton has served as a member of the Springfield City Council since 2010, and served as Council President from 2014-2016 making him the youngest person in history to earn the position.

 In his role as City Councilor, he is relied on most for leading complicated projects. Attorney Fenton has been appointed to dozens of municipal and state commissions working on complex issues including pension reform, gaming, municipal taxation, zoning reform, and more. He regularly donates legal services on a pro bono basis, representing non-profit organizations including social justice groups, cultural organizations, and economic development agencies.

Michael A. Fenton is a shareholder at Shatz, Schwartz and Fentin, P.C., a nationally recognized law firm primarily serving New England and eastern New York. He is a member of the bar in both Massachusetts and Connecticut and concentrates his practice in the areas of business planning, commercial real estate, and estate planning.

A member of the class of 2012, Attorney Fenton is a law review alumnus and earned a Master of Business Administration from the Western New England University School of Business in 2011.

Attorney Fenton is well-recognized as a leader in the law. He has been rated as a Super Lawyer every year since 2014. He was also named one of the “Top 25 Up and Coming Attorneys” in 2014 by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly and is a member of the BusinessWest 40 Under Forty class of 2012.

Michael represents principals in business formation and succession planning, businesses in the purchase and sale of enterprises, lenders and borrowers in commercial financing transactions, developers in the acquisition and permitting of projects, and individuals in establishing comprehensive and sophisticated estate plans. His clients range from small closely held businesses to large multi-national corporations. In addition to his law practice, Attorney Fenton has served as a member of the Springfield City Council since 2010, and served as Council President from 2014-2016 making him the youngest person in history to earn the position.

In his role as City Councilor, he is relied on most for leading complicated projects. Attorney Fenton has been appointed to dozens of municipal and state commissions working on complex issues including pension reform, gaming, municipal taxation, zoning reform, and more. He regularly donates legal services on a pro bono basis, representing non-profit organizations including social justice groups, cultural organizations, and economic development agencies.

Kathleen E. Dion L’09

The Ascending Alumni Award spotlights the achievements of alumni who graduated within the last 10 years from the School of Law. Recipients are those who have shown leadership in a chosen field or in the community. The recipients stand out among peers and display a great deal of drive and potential.

Kathleen Dion is a partner at Robinson+Cole in Hartford, Connecticut. Attorney Dion received her B.A. in History from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2006, and her J.D. from Western New England University School of Law, where she was a Notes Editor of the Law Review, and graduated Magna Cum Laude in 2009.

Attorney Dion focuses her practice on all aspects of civil and criminal litigation.  She has represented clients across the country in a variety of business disputes.  Her courtroom experience ranges from federal and state jury trials to arbitrations and appeals.  A significant portion of her practice is devoted to counseling and representing private schools, colleges and universities in civil matters such as allegations of staff misconduct and Title IX matters.  Attorney Dion has also assisted public and private companies with internal investigations on a variety of matters including financial wrongdoing and regulatory non-compliance. 

Attorney Dion has also devoted significant time to the representation of pro bono clients.  She participates in the firm’s Domestic Violence Restraining Order Program, which provides free legal services to family violence victims and represents several domestic violence shelters with subpoena compliance and other matters.   Last year, Attorney Dion was named to the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence (CCADV) First 100 Plus Class of 2018 for demonstrating leadership and commitment to improving the lives of domestic violence survivors throughout Connecticut. 

In addition, by appointment of a judge in the United States District Court in Connecticut, Attorney Dion successfully represented an indigent defendant facing federal murder charges in a month long jury trial. 

In 2017, Attorney Dion was named by the Connecticut Law Tribune as a New Leader in the Law.  Last year, Attorney Dion was recognized as a “40 Under Forty” winner by BusinessWest.  She has been selected as a Rising Star to the Connecticut Super Lawyers list since 2016.

William J. Meade L’89

The Distinguished Alumni Award is given to a member of the alumni community who has made significant contributions, not only to the legal profession, but to society as a whole. The recipient’s contributions exemplify leadership, ethics, and integrity. In addition, the accomplishments of the recipient reflect positively on Western New England University School of Law.

Justice Meade received his B.A. degree, cum laude, from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1986 and his J.D. from Western New England College School of Law in 1989.  He began his career as an assistant district attorney for the Eastern District of Massachusetts, where he was an appellate attorney from 1989 to 1992.  From 1992 to 2000, he served as an assistant attorney general in the appellate division of the criminal bureau, and from 2000 to 2003 he served as chief of the appellate division.  From 2003 to 2005, Justice Meade served as deputy chief legal counsel to Governor Mitt Romney, and from 2005 to 2006 he served as legal counsel to the Commonwealth's eleven district attorneys.

Prior to his appointment to the Appeals Court, Justice Meade was a seminar lecturer and coordinator of a clinical program at Harvard Law School from 2000 to 2003.  He also served as editor-in-chief of the Massachusetts Law Review from 2003 to 2006, and he has taught numerous CLE programs.  Since 2015, Justice Meade has been an Adjunct Faculty member of the Suffolk Law School, where he teaches Appellate Practice.  He was appointed by Governor Romney as an associate justice of the Appeals Court in 2006.