Mitchell Hamline honored three alums for their accomplishments and service to the law school during its first-ever Alumni Celebration Monday, Feb 13.
Stephen B. Bonner ’72 (WMCL) received the Outstanding Alumni Award for his commitment to the school, his financial support of programs for students, and his service on the board of trustees. Bonner graduated from William Mitchell in 1972 and spent most of his career as the president and CEO of Cancer Treatment Centers of America, also serving on the company’s board as chairman for several years. He retired in 2015 and is currently Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Harvard Business School.
Bonner was elected to the William Mitchell Board of Trustees in 2005. He and his wife, Lisa, established the Bonner Family Scholarship in 2008. He has also helped recruit students to Mitchell Hamline, been a guest lecturer for the school’s course on leadership, served as a commencement speaker, and personally hosted numerous events for alumni in the Chicago area. While he no longer serves as a trustee, Bonner continues to contribute his ideas and energy to the school and is currently collaborating on the development of a new Health Care Law and Leadership certificate program.
Jen Randolph Reise ’07 (HUSL) earned the Recent Alumni Award for her contributions to Mitchell Hamline, her community, and the legal profession in the decade since she graduated from Hamline Law. Reise practiced securities law at Briggs and Morgan before joining Regis Corporation in 2014 as Counsel and Assistant Corporate Secretary. She was elected to the Hamline Law Alumni Board in 2009 and was president of the board when the combination with William Mitchell was announced in early 2015. Reise’s range of skills ensured the smooth integration of the two schools’ alumni boards, set a high mark for alumni board leadership, and made it possible for the two groups to come together to create a new, combined entity with new bylaws, new committees, and new members.
Reisse is a member of the finance committee for Dress for Success Twin Cities, a nonprofit that empowers women to achieve economic independence. She was a guest lecturer in Mitchell Hamline’s new Cybersecurity & Privacy Law Certificate program and continues to assist the school by coaching the transactional health law moot court team.
Judge Joanne M. Smith ’78 (HUSL) received the Distinguished Alumni Award for her leadership in the legal community. Smith graduated with honors from Hamline Law in 1977. After clerking for Judge Oleisky in Hennepin County, she served as an assistant public defender in Ramsey County until she was appointed to the bench in Ramsey County by Governor Rudy Perpich in 1983. After only four years on the bench, she was elected by her peers to become assistant chief judge. In 1989, she became the first woman ever elected chief judge of a judicial district in Minnesota.
Following her service as chief judge, Judge Smith began working on ways courts could deal more effectively with chemically addicted offenders. Under her leadership, the county court’s first chemical dependency initiatives were created. A juvenile drug court began operation in 2001, followed by an adult drug court in 2002. Today, Minnesota has 52 individual and multi-county drug courts across the state as a result of her efforts.