On Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013, William Mitchell College of Law honored the Honorable Kathleen Gearin ’75 and Larry Bell ’79, two exceptional alumni, by presenting them with awards at the annual DeParcq Leadership Celebration.
The Honorable Kathleen Gearin ’75
2013 Recipient of the Honorable Warren E. Burger Distinguished Alumni Award
For the past 27 years, Judge Gearin has served the public, the legal profession, and the people who stood before her accused of crimes.
Judge Gearin grew up in St. Paul, earned a bachelor’s degree from the College of St. Catherine, and worked as a high school social studies teacher before enrolling at William Mitchell. After graduating she served as a Ramsey County prosecutor for 11 years before being elected to the bench in 1986.
She served as chief judge from 2008 to 2012, where she presided over a some of the most highly contentious and well-publicized cases in Minnesota’s history, including cases related to the 2008 Republic National Convention, the Franken-Coleman U.S. Senate election recount, and the 2001 government shutdown.
Through it all, she never lost sight of her role in the judicial process. Judge Gearin is respected for her tenacity, compassion, and commitment to making court appearances for the men and women who stood before her understandable, less intimidating, and, most importantly, fair.
Judge Gearin retired in July 2013. William Mitchell College of Law is proud to honor her career with the Honorable Warren E. Burger Distinguished Alumni Award.
Lawrence Bell ’79
2013 Recipient of the Honorable Ronald E. Hachey Outstanding Alumni Award
Across the William Mitchell campus and throughout the community, Larry Bell is regarded as an outstanding attorney, a visionary leader, and a champion of his law school alma mater.
After earning his J.D. from William Mitchell, where he helped lead the William Mitchell Law Review, Bell went on to a distinguished career with Ecolab. He spent 31 years with the company, rising to the position of senior vice president and general counsel before retiring in 2010.
Throughout his career, Bell remained close to Mitchell. He was a member of the board of trustees from 2004 to 2013. He and his wife, Christine, established an endowed scholarship as well as an endowed professorship. And he has taken on leadership roles with the Center for Law & Business, the Veteran’s Law Externship, and raising funds for the law review.
We are proud to honor Mr. Bell’s many contributions to the law school by awarding him the Honorable Ronald E. Hachey Outstanding Alumni Award.