Published: Dec. 5, 2011

The University of Colorado Law School will honor three distinguished alums at its annual Law Alumni Awards Banquet on Wednesday, March 14, 2012 at the Hyatt Colorado Convention Center Hotel. At the Banquet, Dean Phil Weiser will also present the prestigious William Lee Knous award, given annually to a Colorado Law alum in recognition of outstanding achievement and sustained service to Colorado Law. Moreover, for the first time, three Dean’s Choice awards will be presented, recognizing individuals who made exceptional contributions to Colorado Law.

Proceeds from this year’s banquet will benefit the David H. Getches scholarship fund. David Getches, who was dean of Colorado Law until June 30, 2011, established the scholarship just prior to his untimely death on July 5, 2011.

“We are delighted to honor these distinguished alumni at our annual banquet,” said Katy Brown, director of alumni relations for Colorado Law. “This will be the first time together for many of our alums since the passing of former Dean Getches. We are happy to have this opportunity to commemorate him and direct all proceeds from the banquet to his scholarship.”

Colorado Law is launching its first Law Firm Challenge beginning January 1, 2012 to raise additional funds for the Getches scholarship. A fun and competitive program, the challenge is designed to increase overall alumni giving, participation, strengthen our alumni network, and create stronger alliances with law firms in the local area.

The 2012 alumni honorees are:

Distinguished Recent Alumni Award – Joseph Neguse (‘09) Joseph Neguse, a University of Colorado Regent, is a CU alum (BA, economics and political science ’05, J.D. ’09) and civic leader who has spent years advocating for public higher education. He was elected to the Board of Regents in 2008 while still a student at Colorado Law. He is one of the youngest public officials in the state and was presented the “Rising Star Award” by the Colorado Democratic Party in 2010.  His six-year term ends in January 2015.

Distinguished Achievement in Education Award – Jane B. Korn (‘83) Jane Korn (attended as Silverman) was named Dean of the Gonzaga University School of Law in Spokane, Washington on July 1, 2011. She is the law school’s first female dean. Prior to being named dean, she was the John D. Lyons Professor at the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law, where she taught for more than 25 years. Korn is the recipient of numerous teaching awards, including the Arthur W. Andrews Distinguished Mentor and Teacher Award (2003-2004), the John Strong Teaching Award (2002, 2003, and 2004), the University Teaching Award for Graduate Teaching (2007-2008, 2010-2011), and Teacher of the Year (1988–89).

Distinguished Achievement in the Public Sector Award– Joe Blake (‘61) Joe Blake, a Colorado native, has dedicated his career to public service. Widely known for his 10-year leadership of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, Blake was also named as the first chancellor of Colorado State University System in 2009.  Prior to his leadership at the Chamber of Commerce, Blake spent twenty years working with the senior management team that created Highlands Ranch, Colorado.  His commitment to serving Colorado was exemplified in 2005 when he co-chaired the Yes on Referenda C & D campaign.  He has served on the Colorado Baseball Commission, the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority, and the Colorado Transportation Commission.  After graduating from Law School he served as a Special Agent of the FBI and was Legislative assistant to former U.S. Senator Gordon Allott (R-Colo).

The annual William Lee Knous Award will also be presented at the Banquet. This award honors the memory of former governor, federal judge, distinguished statesman and alumnus, William L. Knous (1911). It is Colorado Law’s highest honor. This year, William “Bill” Johnson (’58), a partner of Rothgerber Johnson & Lyons LLP will receive the award.

Johnson pioneered the "one bank holding company" concept, which has been used by banks throughout the United States. He has represented thousands of banks or bank holding companies in approximately 47 states, and was the founding Director of First Bank, where he has served as Chairman of the board since 1977. He has been recognized by a variety of organizations within the legal community such as Colorado Super Lawyers and Best Lawyers. He also served on the University of Colorado Law Alumni Board from 1992-1996 and was a former chair of the board.  The University of Colorado awarded Johnson the Norlin Recognition Award in 1992 for his devotion to the betterment of society and his community.

“Bill represents the best of Colorado Law, both in his practice area of expertise and in his service and dedication to Colorado Law,” said Dean Phil Weiser. “I am delighted to honor him for all he has done throughout his distinguished career.”

To find out more about sponsorship opportunities and to purchase tickets online, visit: If you have questions, please contact Cheryl Franchi, Events Manager, at 303.492.8048 or

University of Colorado Law School

The University of Colorado Law School ( was established in 1892 and is a charter member of the Association of American Law Schools, organized in 1901. The school has been on the American Bar Association's list of approved law schools since its first publication in 1923. Colorado Law advances the mission of the University and the greater legal community: through teaching, to employ robust theoretical inquiry, doctrinal and policy analysis, and professional skills and to integrate interdisciplinary study opportunities; through scholarship, to develop and test new ideas and approaches, to challenge the status quo, and to convey our research and ideas; and through public service, to contribute our time and talents in pursuit of our mission and to instill in our students an awareness of a lawyer’s civic responsibilities and opportunities to serve and lead. With its favorable faculty-to-student ratio, stellar bar-passage rate, outstanding student- and faculty profile, and low tuition cost, the University of Colorado Law School is one of the top law schools in the nation and the only public law school in Colorado.