JULY 16, 2013—Warren and Nancy Dunn's endowment of the John P. Sheehy Scholarship honors their son-in-law, who died April 14, 2012, at age 57. Their daughter Kathleen Dunn Sheehy (’84) was appointed a judge of Minnesota's Fourth Judicial District Court on May 30, 2012.
John Sheehy (’84) was remarkable from the get-go. He argued a case before the U.S. Supreme Court when he was a 27-year-old associate at Meshbesher & Spence, where he went on to become a managing partner.
During 30 years of practicing civil and criminal law, he never lost a civil trial, and he won the largest personal injury verdict in Minnesota history—$35.3 million.
But for Sheehy, it wasn't about the money. Professionally it was about getting injured people back into their homes with whatever support was required to make their lives as normal as possible. And personally it was about quiet generosity. He was known for tireless work as a volunteer advocate and for shaking hands with people who needed a bit of help…and leaving a $100 bill behind.
Warren and Nancy Dunn recognized Sheehy's remarkable qualities from the start. A few months after sophomores Kathleen and John met in a University American government and politics class, she brought him home to Milwaukee to meet her family. She recalls that virtually all he could talk about was how much he wanted to be a lawyer and how much he admired her father’s profession. Warren Dunn, a graduate of Creighton University School of Law, was a long-time agent with the FBI and retired as president of Miller Brewing Co. in Milwaukee.
Kathleen says, "They loved him from the first minute they met him—his passion, his vision for the future, and his certainty that he could accomplish this goal despite the lack of financial resources for college or law school."
For the Dunns, establishing the scholarship is about achievement, money, and generosity. Of all his achievements, the Dunns most admired Sheehy's litigation ability and his passion for law and history. Their preferences—that recipients have overcome adversity and have financial need, persistence, and compassion—mirror Sheehy's experience and Law School attendance. They say, "This opportunity for other students is gratifying because it was in John's nature to share."