Published: March 10, 2006

On March 8th, 2006, over 400 guests, by far the largest attendance in the history of our Banquet, attended the University of Colorado Law School’s Twenty-Fifth Annual Alumni Awards Banquet.  Over $95,000 was raised to benefit the Dean’s Fund for Excellence.  Thank you to all of our Alumni who made the event such a success!Every year the annual alumni banquet recognizes three alumni for their excellence in the judicial, public, and private sectors.  This year the Distinguished Alumni Awards were given to Justice Michael Bender ’67, Glenn Porzak ’73, and Bryan Shaha ’71.  Special tributes were also made to honor two CU Law alumni in memoriam, Louise Romera ’80 (CU attorney, 1994-2006) and Vine Deloria, Jr. ’70 (CU Professor who taught American studies, law, history, religion, and political science). Justice Michael Bender ‘67Following his law school commencement, Justice Bender worked as a Deputy State Public Defender (1968-1971), and then spent seventeen years working in private practice, first with Gibson Dunn & Crutcher (1979-1980), then Bender & Treece (1983-1993), and finally in solo practice (1993-1997).  He was appointed to the Colorado Supreme Court on January 2, 1997.  Throughout his career, Justice Bender has worked as an adjunct instructor at both the University of Colorado Law School and the University of Denver College of Law.  While a law student, Michael Bender received the Faculty Award for Outstanding Student Work from the University of Colorado Law Review in 1967.  He was named Denver Bar Association Volunteer Lawyer of the Year in 1988 and Outstanding Judicial Officer of the Year in 2000.  In 1990 he received both the Robert C. Heeney Memorial Award and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Outstanding Service Award.  In addition to these awards, he has served on numerous committees, including the University of Colorado Law Alumni Board (1999-2001), ABA Criminal Justice Standards Committee (1997-2000), Colorado Bar Association Board of Governors (1980-82; 1989-1991), U.S. District Court Committee for Criminal Justice Act for District of Colorado (1991-1993), and the Colorado Trial Lawyer’s Association Board of Directors (1985-1987).  Justice Bender currently serves as a liason member to various Supreme Court Committees and is a member of the American Bar Association.Glenn Porzak ‘73Mr. Porzak’s first law job was working for the University of Colorado, where he remembers earning the princely wage of $3 and hour.  Very soon thereafter he joined Holme Roberts & Owen, where he worked for twenty-two years, including ten years as managing partner.  In 1996, he co-founded Porzak Browning & Bushong, of which he is a managing partner.Glenn Porzak was designated by the Heritage Center as a CU Distinguished Alumnus in 1990.  He is a member of the School of Law Steering Committee, the Museum Advisory Board, the Phi Beta Kappa honor society and the Sigma Phi Epsilon social fraternity.  Mr. Porzak has served on the CU Foundation Board of Trustees, the Natural Resources Law Center Board, Town and Gown, and Wells Fargo Community Bank Board.An accomplished mountaineer, Mr. Porzak has joined the ranks of those who have climbed the “Seven Summits”—the highest peak on each of the world’s seven continents—and is the first person to climb the 100 peaks of Rocky Mountain National Park.  The CU flag he carried to the summit of Mt. Everest is displayed in the University’s Heritage Center.Bryan Shaha ‘72Prior to attending CU Law, Mr. Shaha joined the United States Marine Corps where he would eventually gain the rank of Captain.  Throughout his military career he received the Distinguished Flying Cross, ten Air Medals, the Air Force Commendation Medal and the Purple Heart.  Upon graduation, Mr. Shaha went to work as a Staff Attorney for the Colorado Rural Legal Services (1973-1974), as a Deputy State Public Defender (1974-1979), in private practice (1979-1984) and again for twelve more years as the Deputy State Public Defender in Greeley, Colorado (1984-1996).  For the last 9 years, Mr. Shaha has worked for the Alternate Defense Counsel of the State of Colorado.Mr. Shaha has served on the Executive Session on Indigent Defense Systems since 1998.  He was named Colorado State Public Defender of the Year in 1993, received the Jonathan Olom Award in 1996, and most recently the Charles Dorsey Award in 2005.  He is a member of the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the National Legal Aid Defender Association.