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MLaw Alumni Recognized as U-M Volunteer LeadersMLaw Alumni Recognized as U-M Volunteer Leaders

By Kristy Demas
October 27, 2017

John Nannes, ’73, of Washington, D.C., and Irving Stenn Jr., ’55, of Chicago, are among the recipients of the 2017 Hermelin Awards for their exceptional volunteerism on behalf of the University.

Nannes, a partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, is perhaps best known around the Quad as architect of one of the Law School’s most successful development initiatives—the Nannes 3L Challenge. Its goal is to encourage students to think about giving back to Michigan Law even before they graduate. Since 1999, more than 3,000 students have taken the 3L Challenge, in which they commit to making a gift to the Law School in each of their first four years after graduation. For each commitment, Nannes makes a $250 gift to the Law School organization(s) of the student’s choosing. Gifts from Challenge participants total more than $1.2 million, to date. 

Stenn, who is a major patron of the University’s Museum of Art, also has been a tremendous supporter of Michigan Law. In 1976, with his father, Irving Stenn Sr., he endowed a fund to honor law students who demonstrate leadership, community engagement, and academic success. The award’s criteria reflect Stenn’s own time at Michigan, when he fully embraced all of the opportunities the University presented. Today, the Stenn Award is one of the most prestigious honors bestowed upon graduating law students each year.

Stenn’s eponymous scholarship, which he established in 2011, is another way he gives back. He credits the Law School with providing the foundation for his successful career in private practice, and says the best way to pay it forward is to help the next generation of MLaw students. In 2014, Stenn contributed an additional $1 million to the scholarship, enabling him to help even more students reach their goals. The letters he receives from them explaining how the Stenn Scholarship changed their lives are very meaningful to Stenn, reinforcing his belief in the power of philanthropy.

Nannes and Stenn also remain engaged with the Michigan community in Ann Arbor and beyond. Nannes has served on numerous fundraising and advisory committees and currently chairs the Development and Alumni Relations Committee. He also is a guide and mentor to the next generation of MLaw alumni and supporters. From members of the 3L Challenge student committee to the many Michigan Law summer interns at Skadden, he offers career advice while sharing his affection for and commitment to the University and Michigan Law.

When Stenn visits campus, he often meets with recipients of the scholarship and award that bear his name, inspiring the next generation to be similarly generous with their time and resources. As a volunteer leader for his 50th Reunion, he further modeled his dedication and commitment to the School, sharing his expertise with U-M development staff and with his fellow classmates.

Established in 2004, the Hermelin Award honors the memory of David Hermelin, BBA ’58, HLLD ’00, a tireless patron of the University who served as one of its unofficial ambassadors for more than two decades. Through their years of passionate support and advocacy for U-M, Nannes and Stenn exemplify Hermelin’s spirit of giving, said U-M President Mark Schlissel at the October 27 awards ceremony. “We are so proud to recognize members of the University of Michigan family who devote themselves to advancing our excellence. Their extraordinary volunteer efforts on behalf of our University make them worthy of distinction as leaders and best.”

Other 2017 Hermelin Award recipients were Joan and David Evans, John Greene, Trish Turner-McConnell, and Yu-Chun ‘Peter’ Fan.

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