Each year, University of Detroit Mercy chooses an alumnus of each of its Colleges or Schools to honor as someone who has excelled in his or her profession, demonstrated outstanding leadership in work and devoted himself or herself in service to the larger community. Award recipients reflect the University’s mission of excellence and service and bring pride to their alma mater.
This year, the University will celebrate seven honorees at a special ceremony Friday, April 24, in the Ballroom in the Student Union. We will introduce the award winners on this blog before the event. If you are interested in attending the event, you can purchase tickets at udmercy.edu/awards.
For 2020, the School of Law will honor Ven Johnson ’86, owner and founding member of Johnson Law PLC in Detroit.
Johnson has been representing victims against insurance companies, big business and government for more than 34 years. In 2012, he launched Ven Johnson Law, opening the flagship office in downtown Detroit. Since then, the firm has expanded to include offices in Flint and Grand Rapids, while continuing to support clients across the United States.
Johnson has been recognized by legal organizations and publications across the country for his contributions and achievement in the field of personal injury law. Considered a national expert in the field, he is often called upon by news organization to speak on legal matters.
A busy advocate in the legal community, Johnson is a member of many legal organizations and has served as president and vice president of the Michigan Association of Justice. He is also part of the American Association of Justice’s Leader’s Forum and is on the executive board for the Police Misconduct litigation section.
Johnson shows his commitment to the community by supporting organizations like Detroit Mercy Law, Downtown Boxing Gym in Detroit, Food Bank of Eastern Michigan, Palmer Park Tennis Academy in Detroit, Kalamazoo College and more.
To read a story about a gift he made to Detroit Mercy law, click here: sites.udmercy.edu/alumni/2016/11/10/ven-johnson-82-fighting-for-diversity-in-law/.
The other men who will receive the Alumni Spirit Award this year are:
- Clifford C. Cook ’69, ’70, College of Engineering & Science, retired Senior Vice President, Marathon Petroleum Company LLC
- Joseph Coriaty ’78, School of Architecture, Managing Partner, Frederick Fisher & Partners
- Henry G. (Hank) Durkin ’73, College of Liberal Arts & Education, retired Technical Account Manager, Microsoft
- Eric J. Hespenheide ’75, College of Business Administration, retired Partner, Deloitte & Touche LLP
- Richard Persiani, D.D.S. ’73, M.S., School of Dentistry, Affiliate Professor, Detroit Mercy Dental
- Derk Pronger ’94, College of Health Professions, Chief Operating Officer, Munson Medical Center
Check back to see their stories.