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Press Release

NIU Law Hosts 12th Annual Minority Alumni Reception

Honors Judge Thaddeus Wilson, NIU Law Alumni Director Melody Mitchell

NIU College of Law held its 12th Annual Minority Reception on February 25, 2015 in Chicago hosted by Dean Rosato Perea (left) and alumnus Vincent F. Cornelius (’89, far right).  Also pictured are Hon. Thaddeus L. Wilson (’94), Cook County Circuit Court; and NIU Law Alumni Director Melody Mitchell, who were recipients of the 2015 Excellence in Service and Leadership Award.

NIU College of Law held its 12th Annual Minority Reception on February 25, 2015 in Chicago hosted by Dean Rosato Perea (left) and alumnus Vincent F. Cornelius (’89, far right). Also pictured are Hon. Thaddeus L. Wilson (’94), Cook County Circuit Court; and NIU Law Alumni Director Melody Mitchell, who were recipients of the 2015 Excellence in Service and Leadership Award.

February 26, 2015

DeKalb, Ill.--The Northern Illinois University College of Law held its 12th Annual Minority Alumni Reception, hosted by Dean Jennifer Rosato Perea and alumnus Vincent Cornelius (’89), on February 25, 2015. Over 100 students, alumni, faculty, judges, and political leaders from the Chicago area attended this reception, which included special presentations celebrating the Honorable Thaddeus L. Wilson (’94) and NIU Law Director of Alumni Events and Public Relations Melody Mitchell.

Cornelius presented Judge Wilson with the Excellence in Service and Leadership Award.  Judge Wilson, a 1994 NIU Law alumnus, was honored for his exceptional leadership and distinguished record as a public servant.  Judge Wilson was appointed Circuit Court Judge in August of 2007.  He is currently assigned to the Criminal Division where he hears felony cases. 

“He is the kind of contributor and high achiever that we want our law students to know and hear about,” said Vince Cornelius of Wilson. We try to honor people who are using their law degrees to do good in the world. And I think Thad is a great example of that.” 

Prior to his appointment, Judge Wilson’s extensive background includes work in private practice for 13 years handling civil, criminal, divorce, child support, election law, personal injury, wrongful death, traffic, bankruptcy, real estate, and foreclosure cases in state and federal court. He also served as an arbitrator with the Circuit Court of Cook County Mandatory Arbitration Program, as an Election Day attorney with the Cook County Clerk, and as a hearing officer for the Chicago Board of Elections.

Dean Rosato Perea also honored Melody Mitchell with the Excellence in Service and Leadership Award for her commitment to students and alumni, service to the law school, and for building a diverse and caring community with her generosity of spirit to all. In addition to her work creating networking and fundraising events that connect NIU Law alumni with students, faculty, and outside constituencies, Mitchell is the liaison between the law school and the NIU Law Board of Visitors and Alumni Council.

“Melody works to bolster NIU Law’s image through the press, web, and public appearances by the Dean, faculty, and outstanding students. She has forged strong connections with countless students, faculty/staff, alumni, and friends of the law school in her more than 15 years with the College of Law,” said Dean Rosato Perea.  She always displays a willingness to help, using her skills as a creative problem-solver.”

Cornelius, a 1989 NIU Law alumnus, has hosted the Minority Reception since its inception and has watched it continue to grow each year.  Cornelius is a sole practitioner with offices in Wheaton and Joliet.  He currently serves as second vice president of the Illinois State Bar Association, and will become the organization’s first African-American president in 2016.

This year’s minority reception was profiled in a Chicago Daily Law Bulletin story.

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For more information, contact:
Melody Mitchell
Alumni Events & Public Relations
(815) 753-9655 or

mmitchell@niu.edu

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