Treasure of Detroit honors Wayne Law alumni, friends

Wayne State University Law School, Wayne Law Dean Robert M. Ackerman, the Wayne Law Board of Visitors and the Wayne Law Alumni Association are pleased to announce that the 15th annual Treasure of Detroit will be hosted from 6 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, March 24, at Ford Field.

This year's honorees are Professor Emerita Frederica K. Lombard, who is being honored posthumously with the Lifetime Achievement Award, Judge Claudia Morcom, '56, George Peck, '80, and Ed Zelenak, '77.

Since its inception in 1998, the Treasure of Detroit has been Wayne Law's premier event for honoring those who have made a lasting contribution to the practice of law, as well as to the growth and success of the Law School. The annual event brings together some of the legal community's brightest minds and scholars.

"The Treasure of Detroit provides Wayne Law alumni and friends a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with each other and the Law School, and to honor those who have made significant contributions to the legal profession and society," Ackerman said. "I look forward to celebrating with Wayne Law students, alumni, faculty and friends at Ford Field in March."

This year's event will feature a cocktail reception and silent auction at 6 p.m., followed by dinner, an awards program and tours of Ford Field.

During a career with Wayne Law that spanned more than 40 years, Frederica Lombard was a role model, mentor and trailblazer for countless women in the legal profession.

Lombard began teaching in 1966 at Wayne Law, where she met her future husband, Wayne County Judge Arthur Lombard. She became a full professor in 1969, the first full-time female law faculty member at the university. She was named associate dean in 1992, a position she held for 13 years, and served as interim dean for one year. Lombard is credited with having a major role in the Law School building expansion that began in the early 2000s.

Upon her retirement, a major scholarship fund was renamed the Lombard Scholarship Fund. An expert in family law, Lombard served on several faculty committees at WSU, including the Minority Employment Action Steering Committee and the Commission on the Status of Women, which strove to correct gender inequalities at the university. On the national scene, she sought to establish accreditation standards that would prohibit law schools from discriminating against women.

Retired Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Claudia House Morcom has been an energetic advocate for civil rights and human rights throughout her career in the law. She broke the gender barrier when she became the first African-American woman to work in an integrated law firm, joining the firm of Goodman, Crockett, Eden, Robb, and Philo in the early 1960s.

A few years later, she went to Mississippi during the civil rights movement to fight injustice as the southern regional director of the National Lawyers Guild Committee for Legal Assistance from 1964-1965.

In 1966, she returned to her native Detroit and became director of the Wayne County Neighborhood Legal Services program for the indigent. In 1983, she became a Wayne County Circuit Court judge, a position she held until retiring in 1998.

Morcom has served on numerous community boards and organizations, and as a delegate to the United Nations Human Rights Council. She has also been a very active alumna at Wayne State. She was a founding member of the WSU Alumni Association and a past president. She recently established an annual Wayne Law scholarship.

George Peck has been a dedicated supporter of Wayne Law, particularly the library, since his graduation in 1980. He funded the George Peck Endowed Scholarship for Superior Advocacy in memory of his father, Dr. Theodore E. Peck.

As the managing director of George Peck and Associates PLC, Peck's experience is concentrated in all aspects of corporate and securities law as well as commercial litigation, labor, employment and immigration. He received his bachelor of arts from the University of Michigan in 1977.

While in law school, Peck was a member of the Order of Barristers, a brief writer for the Wayne Moot Court National Team from 1979-80, and the founder and president of the Wayne International Law Society from 1978-80. Peck was admitted to the State Bar of Michigan in 1980 and has been admitted pro hac vice in 14 states.

He is a member of the Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association and the American Bar Association, including its section on Business Law. He is also a member of the State Bar of Michigan's Corporate Law and Labor Law sections and the Association of Trial Lawyers of America.

Ed Zelenak is a former president of the Law Alumni Association and currently serves on the Law School's Board of Visitors. A lifelong resident of Lincoln Park, Zelenak is the city attorney for the municipalities of Lincoln Park and Southgate. He has served as legal counsel to numerous other communities and governmental entities, as well as represented presidential candidates and other public officials in Michigan election law matters.

He is the recipient of the 2010 State Bar of Michigan Frank J. Kelley Distinguished Public Service Award. For many years, he has served as the emcee for the Treasure of Detroit.

Zelenak's service goes far beyond Southeast Michigan however. The honorary consul for the Slovak Republic, a lifetime appointment he received in 2001, he has been an advisor to the Slovak ambassadors to Washington and the United Nations, as well as to members of the Slovak parliament and political leaders in Bratislava. In 1990 he assisted in devising strategies for the first free elections in Czechoslovakia.

People interested in making a gift to Wayne Law in recognition of the honorees can contact Michael Silverstein at the Law School's Development Office at 313-577-9238.

For information on the Treasure of Detroit, please contact Kathryn Koehler in the Law School's Office of Alumni Relations at 313-577-6199 or

Published: Tue, Feb 7, 2012