Photograph: Alumna meeting with student.

2011 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipients

Samuel E. Cary, 1910

Photograph: Samuel E. Cary. Samuel E. Cary, 1910, was born in Providence, Kentucky, the youngest of five children. He was the first African- American graduate of Washburn University School of Law. By age 24, Cary opened his first law office in Russell Springs, Kansas, with partner W. L. Sayers, and began his long, and sometimes controversial, career. He was a man whom many people loved and befriended, resulting in his election as Russell Springs county attorney in 1914. Five years later, Cary, his wife, Allena, and two young children, John and Kathryn, moved to Denver.

He was admitted to the Colorado Bar, becoming the first black attorney licensed to practice law in Colorado and one of the earliest African-American pioneers in the field of law in the American West. Cary set up his criminal law practice in the Five Points area of Denver. His clientele included people mainstream lawyers often shunned as clients: blacks, Asians, Indians, and poor whites, many of whom were unable to pay him. His family and friends often commented that "nearly half of Denver owed him money."

It was his love of law and of people that gave him the burning desire to succeed despite a hostile racial climate. In 1926, the all-white Colorado Bar Association, acting on complaints it had received, disbarred Cary and he was forbidden to practice law in the state. Questions remain whether the punishment was overly harsh and unjust, and whether racial prejudice played a part in Cary's disbarment. To support his family during this difficult time, he worked as a waiter for the Denver Rio Grande Railroad.

Nine years later, Cary was reinstated to the Colorado Bar and permitted to practice law. In June 1945, Cary retired from his law practice after being diagnosed with throat cancer. He continued to spend time with his family and friends until his death. The Sam Cary Bar Association in Colorado was created in his memory.

Born: July 9, 1886 • Died: April 13, 1961 in Denver, Colorado
J.D., Washburn University School of Law, 1910

The Honorable Sam A. Crow, 1952

Photograph: The Hon. Sam A Crow. The Honorable Sam A. Crow, 1952, began his service to the country as a seaman in the United States Navy during World War II from 1944 to 1945. He then returned to Kansas and received his bachelor's degree from the University of Kansas in 1949 and graduated from Washburn University School of Law in 1952.After law school, Judge Crow served during the Korean War before entering the Judge Advocate General's School at the University of Virginia. During the next 12 years while working in private practice, he completed the JAG basic course, advanced JAG course, JAG officer career course, and military judge course certifications. In 1975, he completed the selective service military course in Washington, D.C., and received certification from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces in National Security Management in 1977. Judge Crow served his country for more than 30 years, retiring at the rank of Colonel in 1986.

On November 24, 1981, Crow was nominated by President Ronald Reagan to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas. Crow was confirmed by the Senate and received his commission in December 1981. After first serving in Wichita, he later returned to Topeka. He assumed senior status on the bench in 1996.

In 1997, The Topeka American Inn of Court in honor of Judge Crow changed its name to the Sam A. Crow American Inn of Court. Judge Crow was the organization's founding president from 1992 to 1995. The Sam A. Crow American Inn of Court emphasizes excellence in litigation, lawyering, and legal ethics to improve the skills, professionalism, and ethics of the bench and bar. Each year Judge Crow helps to provide scholarships for students to join the Sam A. Crow American Inn of Court.

Judge Crow served on the Washburn University School of Law Alumni Association's Board of Governors from 1994 to 1998. In addition, Judge Crow was honored in 2000 as the Alumni Association's Distinguished Service Award recipient. At the May 2006 Commencement, he received an Honorary Doctor of Law, the highest degree awarded at Washburn University.

Born: May 5, 1926 - Topeka
B.A., University of Kansas, 1949 • J.D., Washburn University School of Law, 1952
U.S. District Court Senior Judge

Brian J. Moline, 1966

Photograph: Brian J. Moline. Brian J. Moline, 1966, was a naturalized citizen of the United States, having emigrated from England with his family when he was 12 years old. He graduated from Chaplain Kapaun High School in Wichita, and received an undergraduate degree from Wichita State University. He furthered his education with a juris doctor from Washburn University School of Law and a master's in public administration from the University of Kansas. He also attended Oxford University.Moline's career included representing the people of Kansas in the state legislature from 1966 to 1971. He was passionate about serving those who most needed help, which resulted in an eight-year career as director of the Wichita Legal Aid Society and four years working with Kansas Legal Services in Topeka. In addition, Moline was the Kansas Insurance Commission's general counsel for a number of years.

Governor Bill Graves appointed Moline to the Kansas Corporation Commission in 1998 citing his extensive regulatory experience. At the time, he was serving as general counsel at the Commission. One of the immediate issues he confronted was the proposed merger of Western Resources with Kansas City Power & Light Company. He was a commissioner until 2003 when he was elevated to chairman of the organization and served in that capacity until 2007.

After departing the Kansas Corporation Commission, Moline became general counsel at the Disability Rights Center of Kansas until his sudden and incapacitating illness in 2008 following an automobile accident.

His dedication to legal education was experienced by the many students whom he taught in legal history and insurance courses as an adjunct professor at Washburn Law. In 2003 he received the Adjunct Professor of the Year, an annual award selected by the law students.

Born: April 27, 1940 - London, England • Died: September 29, 2008 - Topeka
B.A., Wichita State University, 1963 • J.D., Washburn University School of Law, 1966
M.P.A., University of Kansas, 1983

Martha S. Yerkes-Robinson, 1940

Photograph: Martha S. Yerkes-Robinson. Martha S. Yerkes-Robinson, 1940, was born Martha Lenora Stewart in Topeka in 1912. She attended the College of the Sisters of Bethany in Topeka until it closed in 1929. She then enrolled at Washburn University at the young age of 15. Five years later, she received her undergraduate degree with honors in French and English, and in 1940 she received her law degree. While in Topeka, Martha married Albrecht Marburg Yerkes and they had two sons, Robert S. Yerkes, now residing in North Bend, Washington, and William M. "Bill" Yerkes, who lives in Oroville, California. The family moved to the Los Angeles area in the early 1940s, where Yerkes set up a private practice while working on an LL.M. degree, which she received in 1952 from Stanford University. Between 1947 and 1955, she was an adjunct professor at Southwestern Law School and later worked as an attorney with the state committee advising California Superior Courts on jury instructions. She was hired as judge pro tem-domestic relations in the Los Angeles County court system for a time in the early 1960s.

Loyola University Law School offered Yerkes a position in 1964 following the death of her husband who had been a faculty member there. As a full-time professor from 1965 to 1984, Yerkes taught classes in law and literature, remedies, criminal law, restitution, equities, trusts, and legal writing. She received the designation of professor emeritus upon retiring from academia at the age of 70. In 1971, she married Stephen B. Robinson Jr., and Pasadena, California, became their home for 27 years. Shortly before her death in 1998, Yerkes-Robinson moved to a retirement residence in Carmel, California.

In addition to being an attorney, law professor, wife, and mother, Yerkes-Robinson was a gifted writer. She enjoyed writing poetry and published "The Zoo at Night," a book dedicated to her grandchildren: Karl Yerkes, of Santa Barbara, California, and Lenora Yerkes, a recent graduate of the Georgetown Law School.

Born: March 2, 1914 - Topeka • Died: July 12, 1998 - Carmel, California
J.D., Washburn University School of Law, 1940 • LL.M., Stanford University, 1952