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Emeritus/Retired Faculty

Jill Adams

Jill Adams

Jill Adams has been a member of the School of Law faculty since 1988. She received her B.A. with Highest Honors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1974. She next studied at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, receiving her M.A.T. in 1978. Before finishing her masters, she taught high school English at two schools run by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, one in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and the other on the Choctaw Reservation near Philadelphia, Mississippi. A legal dispute about the sovereignty of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw, which was heard in the U.S. Supreme Court while she was teaching on the reservation, sparked her interest in law. In 1979, she enrolled in law school at the University of New Mexico where she was supervisory editor of the law review. She graduated from there in 1982 (summa cum laude and Order of the Coif).

Professor Adams clerked for two years for the Hon. Juan G. Burciaga of the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico. After leaving her clerkship, she practiced with the firm of Rodey, Dickason, Akin & Robb, P.A., in Albuquerque. In 1986, she moved to Carbondale, where she practiced law until she joined the faculty in 1988. Professor Adams teaches Civil Procedure and Employment Discrimination. She also has headed the school's Academic Support Program since 1999.

Her research interests include issues in civil procedure, employment discrimination law, and civil rights, with an occasional foray into Indian law. Professor Adams is active in community and university affairs. She served as secretary to the Faculty Senate from 1997 to 1999 and serves on numerous university committees. She has been involved with the Women's Center, a not-for-profit corporation providing services to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault for a number of years and served as its president from 1997 to 2001.

W. Eugene Basanta

W. Eugene Basanta

W. Eugene Basanta is the Southern Illinois Healthcare Professor of Law Emeritus.  He is also a Professor in the Department of Medical Humanities at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine. Since joining the SIU faculty in 1980, Professor Basanta has worked to advance education and research addressing health law and public policy.

He is the founding director of SIU’s Center for Health Law & Policy, and helped to create in 1989 the law school’s M.D./J.D. program – one of the first in the nation. He focuses his research and teaching in health law and has written extensively in this area, including works funded and published by the American Medical Association and the American College of Surgeons. Professor Basanta is a member and current vice chair of the Board of Trustees of Southern Illinois Healthcare, as well as a member of the American College of Legal Medicine Board of Governors. He serves as the Deputy Editor of the ACLM’s Journal of Legal Medicine.  


B.A. Cum Laude 1972, Williams College, Phi Beta Kappa
J.D. with High Distinction 1975, University of Kentucky
---Order of the Coif
---Law Review
LL.M. 1980, Temple University


  • Admitted to practice in Kentucky
  • Law clerk, Fayette County Circuit Court, 1974-1975
  • Private practice, Louisville, 1975-1978
  • Assistant Professor, Southern Illinois University School of Law, 1980-1985
  • Associate Professor, Southern Illinois University School of Law, 1985-1992
  • Professor, Southern Illinois University School of Law, 1992-
  • Associate Dean, Southern Illinois University School of Law, 1991-1993
  • Professor at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Department of Medical Humanities, 1991-
  • Acting Dean, Southern Illinois University School of Law, 2002-2003

Keith Beyler

Keith Beyler

Keith H. Beyler has been a member of the SIU law faculty since 1982. He grew up in Carbondale, Illinois, graduated from Princeton University in 1969 (magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa) and graduated from the University of Chicago Law School in 1974 (cum laude and Order of the Coif). He then clerked for Justice James Cobey of the California Court of Appeals and was in private practice for seven years at O'Melveny and Myers in Los Angeles. While there he worked primarily on antitrust and commercial fraud cases. He also had the honor of trying a case for King Vidor, one Hollywood’s most famous old-time film directors.

Professor Beyler teaches Civil Procedure, Federal Courts, and Conflict of Laws. He has a special interest in personal jurisdiction, having published articles on the subject, one of which led to a revision of the Illinois personal jurisdiction statute.

Professor Beyler has been very active in service to the Illinois legal profession. He was on the Illinois State Bar Association Civil Practice and Procedure Section Council for eight years, serving as Chair in 1989; he then was on the editorial board of the Illinois Bar Journal for four years, serving as Editor-in-Chief in 1992-93; and he served as reporter for the biannual Allerton House Conferences from 1984 to 1992. In 1995, the Illinois Supreme Court appointed him as the Illinois Supreme Court Rules Committee’s Professor-Reporter, serving as an advisor and drafter in making revisions to the Illinois Supreme Court Rules. On the local level, he served for many years as secretary to the Southern Illinois American Inn of Court.

Professor Beyler is active in community service. For more than a decade, he served as an officer or director of Green Earth, Inc., a local land trust dedicated to the preservation of natural areas in the Carbondale area.

Mark Brittingham

Mark Brittingham

Clinical Assistant Professor of Law

Mark Brittingham joined the Law School faculty in 2007 as Visiting Assistant Professor. A 1982 graduate of the SIU School of Law, he comes to the law school from SIU’s Office of the General Counsel where he spent five years as the University's chief labor lawyer and, in 2004, its Interim General Counsel.

Prior to joining the University, Professor Brittingham spent twenty years in private practice in St. Louis. His private practice focused on business, employment, and environmental litigation, and on general business counseling. He has handled to conclusion antitrust, securities fraud, contract, employment and education discrimination, NEPA, and shareholder lawsuits. He also has negotiated collective bargaining agreements and handled many labor grievances and unfair labor practice charges, in both the public and private sectors. Finally, Professor Brittingham has substantial experience with the law of public entities. In addition to representing public school districts and fire protection districts, he served as vice-president and director of the St. Louis Development Corporation; director and chairman of the Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority; and director of the Planned Industrial Expansion Authority—the principal public redevelopment agencies of the City of St. Louis. During his terms of service, these agencies constructed the Edward D. Jones Dome, the new Kiel Auditorium (now the Scott Trade Center), and St. Louis Marketplace, Missouri’s first tax increment financing project. Professor Brittingham also served two terms as alderman of Eureka, Missouri. He continues to serve on the Advisory Committee to the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board and on the Board of Directors of the Shawnee Healthcare System, the largest provider of healthcare to the indigent in southern Illinois.

Professor Brittingham's wife Kathleen Pine, also a 1982 graduate of the School of Law, is a long-time member of the St. Louis law firm Sandberg, Phoenix and von Gontard, where she represents doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers in professional liability lawsuits.

Thomas Britton

Thomas Britton

Tom Britton is a member of the Charter Class of the SIU School of Law, the Class of 1976. He maintained his association with the School of Law while he pursued a lengthy and successful career in SIU central administration prior to joining the School of Law full-time in 1992. He has served as an aide or advisor to four of the six most recent Presidents of Southern Illinois University. 

He was named to his first Vice Chancellor/Vice President post at age thirty-six. During his seventeen years in University central administration, he served as Administrative Counsel to the SIU Board of Trustees, Executive Assistant (chief of staff) to the President, Vice Chancellor/President for Administration, and Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement.

He joined the SIU School of Law on a full-time basis in early 1992 as associate dean.  He was the first SIU Law graduate to hold that post. He was also the first SIU graduate to serve as Acting Dean (1995-96).

Professor Britton taught courses in the area of public law, including administrative law, legislative and administrative process, state and local government law, and education law. He also taught and practiced negotiation for many years, and he continues to teach at SIU Law and elsewhere periodically. As Director of Graduate Legal Studies, Professor Britton oversaw the development and inclusion of the first non-JD graduate programs of the law school, the Master of Legal Studies (MLS) program and the Master of Law (LLM) program. In addition he launched the school's first semester in practice program and was an early adopter of distance learning technologies. As chair of the clinic and experiential education committee, he led the school's efforts to organize and regularize experiential education in the law school curriculum.

Related to education law, Professor Britton served, along with a colleague from the SIU College of Education, as a senior consultant to Illinois State Board of Education and trained administrative law judges who heard cases involving special need students. 

Professor Britton gives his volunteer time to a variety of causes. At SIU, in the years immediately prior to his retirement from the University, he served as chair of the University Graduate Council, the first law professor to do so, and also served as the co-chair of the campus' strategic planning initiative and as co-chair of the chancellor search committee.

Now in private practice, Professor Britton serves as principal of the firm of BRITTON and Associates which provides legal, educational and consulting services to a variety of individuals and organizations.  You may contact him at

Cynthia Fountaine

Cynthia Fountaine

Cynthia Fountaine served Southern Illinois University School of Law as its first woman Dean from July 2010 - September 2017. She now serves as a professor of law.

Before joining SIU, she was a professor of law at Texas Wesleyan University School of Law (now Texas A&M University School of Law) from 1997–2010, and served as Interim Dean of the law school from 2006–08.

Fountaine was a Fulbright Senior Scholar at the University of Bayreuth in Germany during 2009-2010. She taught U.S. Constitutional Law and U.S. Common Law Methods to German law students. Also, in 2010, Fountaine worked with the American Bar Association’s Rule of Law Initiative worked in Amman, Jordan, focusing on legal education reform.

She taught at the University of Cincinnati College of Law from 1992–97, and during the 2005–06 academic year, she was a visiting professor at Washington and Lee University School of Law. Prior to teaching, Fountaine practiced law at O’Melveny and Myers in Los Angeles, California, where she was a litigator.

Fountaine holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Economics and Public Policy from Indiana University Bloomington Kelley School of Business and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Southern California Gould School of Law. She is 2012 alumna of the Harvard University Institute for Management and Leadership in Education, and a 2015 participant in the Fulbright International Educational Administrators Program in France.

Fountaine focuses her teaching and scholarship on issues relating to the powers of government and access to justice, with particular emphasis on the federal courts' role in enforcing individual rights. In addition, her scholarship explores the lawyer's role in assuring effective representation and participation in the judicial system. Her areas of expertise include civil procedure, legal globalization, federal courts, civil rights, the jury process, complex litigation, and legal ethics.

Fountaine has been active in professional and community service as well. She serves on the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism and was a member of the Deans’ Advisory Committee to the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Access to Justice. In addition, she is chair-elect of the Association of American Law Schools Section on Women in Legal Education, and chaired the Section’s Ruth Bader Ginsburg Lifetime Achievement Award Subcommittee from 2013-2017. She is a member of the Executive Committee of the AALS Section on Professional Responsibility.

She has been active on various committees of the International Association of Law Schools, and a volunteer for the American Bar Association’s Rule of Law Initiative. She has served on the Law School Admission Council’s Finance and Legal Affairs Committee and the Committee on Misconduct and Irregularities in the Admissions Process. She has also served on various ABA committees, and is a Life Fellow of the Tarrant County Bar Foundation. She has served as a member of the Board of Directors of Texas Re-Entry Services, and been a member of the Rotary Club of Fort Worth. In addition, she served on the Tarrant County Bar Association’s Diversity Committee. She is a member of the Illinois State Bar Association, the Jackson County, Illinois Bar Association, is admitted to practice as a member of the State Bar of California, and is a member of the Bar of the Supreme Court of the United States.

Leonard Gross

Leonard Gross was a member of the School of Law Faculty at Southern Illinois University from 1983 to 2010, first as an Assistant Professor and later as an Associate Professor before becoming a Professor of Law in 1993. Before coming to SIU, Professor Gross clerked for Judge Frederick L. Brown of the Massachusetts Appeals Court from 1976 to1977, and practiced corporate litigation with the New York City law firm of Shearman and Sterling from 1977 to 1983.

Professor Gross received his B.A. from the State University of New York at Binghamton in 1973, where he majored in history. He received his J.D., Magna cum laude, from Boston University School of Law in 1976.

Professor Gross is the author or co-author of the following books: Remedies: Damages, Equity and Restitution(LexisNexis, 3d. ed., 2002); Organizing Corporate and Other Business Enterprises (LexisNexis 2000) (with M. Lee and D. Meyers); Supreme Court Appointments: Judge Bork and the Politicization of Senate Confirmations (SIU Press 1998) (with N. Vieira); and Agency and Partnership (Emanuel Publishing Corp. 1998). He is also the author of numerous articles in legal publications.

At SIU, Professor Gross taught the following courses: Legal Profession, Remedies, Agency and Partnership, Corporations, Federal Income Taxation, Interviewing and Counseling, Legal Writing and Evidence. Professor Gross also taught as a visiting professor at Washington University School of Law, Seton Hall University School of Law, St. Louis University School of Law, and the University of San Diego School of Law.

Professor Gross has served as a Reporter for the Illinois Judicial Conference; he has been a member of the Carbondale Elementary School board; and he has been chairman of the Southern Illinois Chapter of the ACLU. He also was president of the Jewish Federation of Southern Illinois, Southeast Missouri, and Western Kentucky. He also has consulted and testified as an expert witness on cases involving legal ethics and legal malpractice.

Frank Houdek

Frank Houdek

Lesar Law Building, Room 208

Frank G. Houdek, who retired on June 30, 2014, served as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for Southern Illinois University School of Law from July 2007 to June 2014, with a year off in the 2009–2010 academic year when he served as the school's Interim Dean. Prior to becoming associate dean, Houdek served as Law Library Director at Southern Illinois University from January 1985 to June 2007, first as Associate Professor of Law and then as Professor of Law from 1988. Before coming to SIU, he was Associate Director of the Law Library and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Southern California Law Center (1982–84); Librarian at Lawler, Felix, and Hall, a Los Angeles law firm (1979–82); and Reference Librarian at the Los Angeles County Law Library (1975–79). He holds B.A. (Cum Laude), J.D. (Order of the Coif), and M.L.S. degrees from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Throughout his professional career, and now in retirement, Houdek has been actively engaged in research and writing and public speaking. He was the editor of the preeminent scholarly journal in the field of law librarianship, Law Library Journal from 1995 to 2007 (volumes 87–99), and subsequently served on the journal's Board of Editors. He also was the editor of another prominent legal education journal, Perspectives: Teaching Legal Research and Writing from 1994 to 2000, and served on its Editorial Board from 1992 to 2007. In retirement, he has combined his legal and bibliographic expertise with a longtime passion, baseball, in both his writing and speaking engagements. He is the co-author, with Ed Edmonds, of Baseball Meets the Law: A Chronology of Decisions, Statutes and Other Legal Events, published by McFarland in 2017, and has authored numerous book reviews for NINE: A Journal of Baseball History and Culture, published by the University of Nebraska Press. He and Edmonds also edited Business and Legal Aspects of Sports and Entertainment (BLASE), a new database product released in 2019 on HeinOnline, a commercial internet provider specializing in legal and business materials. The American Association of Law Libraries honored BLASE with its Joseph L. Andrews Legal Literature Award in 2020. Houdek also has spoken at the annual Cooperstown Symposium on Baseball and American Culture at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and at the annual NINE Spring Training Conference in Tempe, Arizona.

Houdek, the 1997 recipient of the School of Law’s Outstanding Service Award, has been very active in service to his profession. He has been a member since 1975 of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL), a law librarian organization formed in 1906 and now comprised of more than 5,000 members nationwide, serving as its president in 1996–97. He served a two-year stint (1998–2000) as chair of AALL's Committee on Relations with Information Vendors, for which he was awarded a Presidential Certificate of Appreciation at the Association's 2000 Annual Meeting for "furthering positive relationships between AALL and legal publishers." He then chaired a special committee that drafted the AALL Guide to Fair Business Practices for Legal Publishers (2002), for which he was awarded a Presidential Certificate of Appreciation in 2005. In 2005–06, he served as a member of the Task Force on AALL Vendor Relations. In previous years he chaired committees on publications, Law Library Journal, and the history of law librarianship, and served as the Association’s first public relations coordinator. In July 2001, he was awarded the Frederick Charles Hicks Award for Outstanding Contributions to Academic Law Librarianship by the Academic Law Libraries Special Interest Section of AALL, a group he chaired in 1987–88. In July 2011, the American Association of Law Libraries presented him with the Marian Gould Gallagher Distinguished Service Award, its highest honor. He also was inducted into the AALL Hall of Fame in 2011. In 2014–15, he served as chair of the Association's Awards Committee.

Houdek also served as chair of the Committee on Libraries and Technology of the Association of American Law Schools in 2009. He was a member of the Data Policy and Collection Committee of the ABA's Section on Legal Education and Admission to the Bar from 2010 to 2016.

In addition to service on the national level, he has been active in local and regional law library groups, having served as president of the Southern California Association of Law Libraries, founding chair of the Council of Chapter Presidents, chair and secretary of the Mid-America Law Library Consortium, and chair of the Council of Law Library Consortia.

For the SIU School of Law, Houdek chaired the law school's ABA Self-Study Committee in 1993–94 and 1999–2002, and its Dean Search Committee in 2002–03. He served as the faculty advisor to the Southern Illinois University Law Journal from 2003 to 2016.

Houdek also has served Southern Illinois University in a variety of contexts. He served as a member of the university-wide Intercollegiate Athletic Advisory Committee from 1992 to 1996; a member of the NCAA Certification Self-Study Steering Committee from 1997 to 1999, chairing its Academic Integrity Sub-Committee; and a member of the NCAA Certification Interim Report Review Committee in 2003. At various times he has served on the Library Affairs Administrative Council, the Council of SIU Library Directors, the Policy Committee on Information Technologies, and the Library of the Future Committee. He was a member of the planning committee for the inaugural and second annual Morris Library symposiums on information issues, regional conferences that presented nationally recognized speakers on important copyright and government information issues. In 2006–09, he served as a member of the university's Higher Learning Commission Reaccreditation Steering Committee, and chaired one of its five subcommittees. In 2011–12, he served as a member of the Program Changes Review Committee. In 2012–13, he served as a member of the Complementary Practices and Academic Efficiencies Task Force.

Houdek taught legal research in the school's first-year Lawyering Skills Program and co-taught the upper-division Advanced Electronic Legal Research elective course.

Patrick Kelley

Patrick Kelley

Professor Kelley received his undergraduate degree from Notre Dame University, where he was valedictorian of his class in 1965. He graduated from the University of Iowa College of Law in 1969, valedictorian of his class and editor-in-chief of the Iowa Law Review. He then practiced law with Sidley and Austin in Chicago before accepting a position teaching law at Washington University in St. Louis, where he was awarded tenure in 1974. Professor Kelley left Washington University in 1979 to practice in the civil litigation department of the St. Louis law firm of Husch, Eppenberger, Donohue, Elson and Cornfeld.

In 1981, Professor Kelley came to the SIU School of Law, where he has taught torts, local government law, jurisprudence, statutory interpretation, constitutional law, and legislative and administrative processes. His publications include both chapters and articles on torts, tort theory, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., statutory interpretation, and constitutional law.

Professor Kelley has served as a council member on the University City, Missouri, and Carbondale, Illinois city councils, and was the Republican candidate for Congress in the 22nd Congressional District in 1988. He served as the chair of the Illinois State Appellate Defender Commission from 1996 to 2002.

Edward Kionka

Edward Kionka

Mr. Kionka received his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Illinois College of Law in 1962. He was selected for membership in the Order of the Coif, an honorary society chosen from the top ten percent of his class. He was a member of the board of editors of the law review, and during his senior year served as associate editor (second to the editor-in-chief). While in law school, he clerked for a nationally-known attorney, John Alan Appleman, assisting Mr. Appleman with his 26-volume treatise, Appleman on Insurance.

He spent the 1972–73 academic year in residence at Columbia University Law School in New York, where he was the Krulewitch Fellow. He received his Master of Laws degree from Columbia in 1974.


After serving as assistant dean and assistant professor of law at the University of Illinois College of Law from 1967 to 1971, and as an instructor at the University of Michigan Law School (1964–65) and at Columbia University Law School (1962), Mr. Kionka was selected by Dean Hiram Lesar as a member of the founding faculty of Southern Illinois University School of Law, where he taught from 1973 (teaching the first class ever held in the law school) until 2003. His primary fields are torts, evidence, and appellate courts and practice, but he has also taught civil procedure, insurance law, legal writing, advanced appellate advocacy, remedies, legal profession, and federal courts. He served for a year as associate dean (1984–85), and briefly as acting dean (summer 1985). Although he retired from full-time teaching at SIU Law School in 2003, he continues to pursue his academic work, including writing law books and articles. Since retirement, he has also been a visiting professor at other law schools, including Washington University (St. Louis), St. Louis University, Emory University, McGeorge School of Law, the University of San Diego, the University of Hawaii, Northern Illinois University, the University of Georgia, Stetson University College of Law, and, in 2018-19, at Florida A&M University College of Law, teaching Civil Procedure and Evidence.


From 1962 to 1964, Mr. Kionka was an associate with a Chicago law firm. He practiced in 1971–72 as a partner in the Belleville, Illinois law firm of Norton and Kionka. The firm limited its practice to civil (tort) litigation on behalf of plaintiffs. Although he left the firm in fall 1972 to return to his academic career, he continued to work with the firm on a limited basis until Mr. Norton’s death in May 1993. In addition to doing the firm’s appellate work, his work at the trial level focused on legal issues, such as pleadings, motions, evidence, jury instructions, and the like. He also has done similar work for other attorneys and law firms. Since retirement from full-time teaching, he has continued his appellate and trial consulting practice.

Mr. Kionka has been chosen by his fellow Illinois attorneys for designation as a Leading Lawyer in the field of Civil Appellate Law. He is also a Fellow of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers. In May 2010, he was presented a lifetime achievement award by the Illinois Appellate Lawyers Association. The plaque reads: "Appellate Lawyers Association Honors Edward J. Kionka, Professor Emeritus, Southern Illinois University School of Law, In Appreciation for Forty Years of Outstanding Appellate Advocacy Before the Illinois Appellate Courts and Illinois Supreme Court and the United States Courts of Appeals, and for his Service as President of the Appellate Lawyers Association and as Fellow of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers. Presented at the Fifth District Luncheon and Judicial Roundtable, May 21, 2010."


Mr. Kionka was born in Oak Park, Illinois, and grew up in the City of Chicago and its suburbs. He graduated from Lindblom High School in Chicago, and received his undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He and his wife, Terri, an historian, live in Carbondale.

Patricia Ross McCubbin

Patricia Ross McCubbin

Professor of Law

Professor McCubbin teaches courses on environmental law and administrative law. She joined SIU Law in 2000 after a distinguished career with the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. She served as a Fulbright Scholar in China at the Wuhan University School of Law in Wuhan, China, which is home to one of China’s premier research institutes for environmental law. She also was a visitor at the Izmir University of Economics in Izmir, Turkey. 

Professor McCubbin’s scholarship focuses primarily on the Clean Air Act. She has written about new source review and greenhouse gas regulation (Buffalo Environmental Law Journal), technology-based standards for hazardous air pollutants (Duke Environmental Law & Policy Forum), interstate air pollution (Penn State Environmental Law Review), national standards to address climate change (SIU Law Journal), and the residual risk program (Virginia Environmental Law Journal), among other topics. She is the co-author of a chapter on the Clean Air Act in the treatise titled Law of Environmental Protection published by the Environmental Law Institute (forthcoming 2021). 

Professor McCubbin has also written on many other topics, including the nondelegation doctrine, judicial review of significant agency programs, and China’s environmental challenges. 

At SIU Law, Professor McCubbin has received both the Outstanding Scholarship Award and the Outstanding Teaching Award. She was also selected by the SIU Class of 2013 and the Class of 2014 as the Outstanding Faculty Member. 

During her time with the U.S. Department of Justice, Professor McCubbin received numerous awards for distinguished service, including the Special Achievement Award for Sustained Superior Performance of Duty presented by the U.S. Attorney General. As an attorney in the Justice Department’s Environmental Defense Section, she defended regulations adopted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, enforced the nation’s wetlands protection laws, and argued successfully before the U.S. Courts of Appeals in such cases as Michigan v. EPA, 213 F.3d 663 (D.C. Cir. 2000), and Marine Shale Processors, Inc. v. EPA, 81 F.3d 1371 (5th Cir. 1996). Before joining the Justice Department, she counseled clients on compliance with environmental laws in private practice in Washington, D.C. 

Professor McCubbin received her J.D. in 1990 from the University of Virginia School of Law, where she also served as Executive Editor of the Journal of Law & Politics. She received her B.A. in Political and Social Thought from the University of Virginia in 1985, graduating with High Honors and as a member of Phi Beta Kappa. 

Valerie Munson

Valerie Munson

Professor Munson practiced law in Philadelphia for 25 years, where she was a partner in the firm of Eckert, Seamans, Cherin and Mellott and the founder and chair of its Religion and Law Practice Group. She holds a J.D. from Rutgers School of Law–Camden, where she was Symposium Editor of the Rutgers Law Journal and organized and edited a one-volume issue on international terrorism. She also holds a graduate diploma in nineteenth-century literature from the Université de Paris–Sorbonne. Professor Munson received her B.A. in Secondary Education from Augustana College in Rock Island, Ill.

Before coming to SIU, Professor Munson spent several years at the University of St. Thomas School of Law in Minneapolis, where she was the assistant director of the Terrence J. Murphy Institute for Catholic Thought, Law and Public Policy, taught Nonprofit Organizations and Wills, Trusts and Estates, and also supervised upper-level student writing projects.

Her private practice experience included commercial, antitrust, securities, and First Amendment litigation. Her later years of practice focused on issues at the intersection of religion and law and the representation of religious organizations, both large and small. She has served as legal consultant and expert on church law issues, including church property rights (ownership of church property upon withdrawal of congregation from denomination), employment issues, clergy misconduct, and zoning disputes. She also has experience in various forms of alternative dispute resolution, including mediation, arbitration, and facilitation of interfaith dialogue.

Professor Munson’s scholarly interests include lawyer formation, nonprofit corporation law, and religion and law.

Alice Noble-Allgire

Alice Noble-Allgire

A member of the School of Law faculty since 1993, Alice M. Noble-Allgire was a journalist in her former career. She began working for United Press International in 1980 while completing her B.S. degree at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. She served in a number of reporting and editorial positions, including Iowa State Editor, before she left the wire service in 1985 to join the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. While in Seattle, she won several writing honors, including state and regional awards for a series on school desegregation.

Professor Noble-Allgire attended law school at Southern Illinois University, where she served as editor-in-chief of the Southern Illinois University Law Journal. She earned her J.D. summa cum laude in 1990 and clerked for United States District Court Judge James L. Foreman for five years before beginning her full-time teaching career. She assisted Judge Foreman in preparing opinions for the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit as well as for the judge's work on the district court.

Professor Noble-Allgire's teaching interests include Property, Trusts and Estates, Women in Leadership, and Race, Gender and Sexual Orientation, as well as supervising the Judicial Extern Clinic. She received the Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award in 1996-97 and 2006-07, as well as the Faculty-Staff Senior Class Award in 1998 and 2000. She was listed as one of the "Ten Best Law Professors in Illinois" by Chicago Lawyer magazine in January 2006. She is co-author of the third edition of the Property and Lawyering textbook (West, 2010), and has published law review articles on real estate law, property rights, diversity issues, civil procedure, and law school pedagogy.

Professor Noble-Allgire is an associate editor of the American Bar Association’s Probate and Property magazine and a member of the American Law Institute. She is currently serving as a co-reporter on a Uniform Law Commission project to revise the Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act and previously served as a reporter for a ULC study committee on construction defects in residential housing. In other service to the profession, she has served as chair of several diversity committees for the Illinois State Bar Association and was secretary-treasurer of the Southern Illinois American Inn of Court from 2003-07.

R.J. Robertson Jr.

R.J. Robertson Jr.

Professor Robertson received his bachelor’s and law degrees from the University of Missouri, where he was the Editor in Chief of the Missouri Law Review. After graduation, he was a Staff Law Clerk at the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit from 1976-1979. He practiced corporate, commercial, banking, and public finance law with Thompson & Mitchell (now Thompson Coburn LLC) in St. Louis, Missouri from 1979-82 and 1985-86. He came to the SIU Law School in 1982 as an Assistant Professor of Law, was promoted to Associate Professor of Law in 1989, and to Professor of Law in 1999. From 1988-91, he made a foray into academic administration, when he served as Associate Dean of the Law School, a job he now describes as “a living hell.”

Professor Robertson teaches Contracts, Introduction to Commercial Law, and Introduction to Transactional Skills. He received the Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award from the Classes of 1985, 1994, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2006, and 2007, and the SIU Law School Excellence in Teaching Award in 1996. He has written articles dealing with commercial law, sales of goods, insurance, and electronic commerce issues. From 1995 to 1998, he was a member of Illinois Attorney General Jim Ryan’s Commission on Electronic Commerce and Crime that drafted the Illinois Electronic Commerce Security Act, legislation approved by the General Assembly in 1998 to remove legal barriers to the use of digital information in commercial and governmental transactions. Most recently, he coauthored a casebook on remedies with Professor Leonard Gross of SIU, John Sebert, and Robert Thompson.

Professor Robertson is active in advocacy organizations for individuals with disabilities. He was recently re-appointed to a third term as a member of the Illinois Statewide Independent Living Council by Governor Quinn, and is a current member of the Board of Directors of the Southern Illinois Center for Independent Living. He was a member of the Planning Committee and a presenter at the two Joint Conferences on Law Schools and Disability Issues, sponsored by the Association of American Law Schools, the American Bar Association, the National Conference of Bar Examiners, and the Law School Admissions Council.

He is a member of the Order of the Coif and the American Law Institute.

He and his wife Amanda live between Carbondale and Murphysboro.

Rebecca O'Neill

Rebecca O'Neill


B.S. 1985, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
J.D. 1988, Southern Illinois University School of Law
---Editor of SIU Law Journal


Private practice 1988-1991
Clinical Assistant Professor, Southern Illinois University School of Law, 1991-1998
Clinical Associate Professor, Southern Illinois University School of Law, 1998-2003
Clinical Professor, Southern Illinois University School of Law, 2003-present

I have a particular interest in constitutional law and the right to privacy and due process as it relates to elder law, family law, and health care issues.

Mary Rudasill

Mary Rudasill


B.S. 1971, Illinois State University
M.S. 1975, University of Illinois
J.D. 1980, Magna Cum Laude, Southern Illinois University School of Law


  • Law Clerk, U.S. Magistrate Kenneth J. Meyers, 1980-1981
  • Private practice, Carbondale, Ill., 1981-1988
  • Part-time staff attorney, Southern Illinois University School of Law, 1985-1988
  • Staff attorney, Southern Illinois University School of Law Clinical Program, 1988-1991
  • Adjunct Professor of Law, Southern Illinois University School of Law, 1990-1991
  • Acting Clinical Director, Southern Illinois University School of Law, 1991
  • Clinical Director and Associate Professor, Southern Illinois University School of Law, 1992-2009
  • Acting Associate Dean for Administration, Southern Illinois University School of Law, 1997-1999
  • Associate Professor, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, and Clinical Director, Southern Illinois University School of Law, 1999-2004

Suzanne Schmitz

Suzanne Schmitz

Professor Suzanne J. Schmitz believes that being a lawyer is an honor, and so she spent her career challenging future lawyers to meet the standard of being competent, diligent, ethical, skilled, and committed to public service. These are the abilities needed if lawyers are entrusted with the great responsibility they have for people’s lives, liberties, and properties.

She wants to see students succeed in law school and then in practice. She coordinated the law school's academic success program, designed to help students learn the tools of “thinking like a lawyer.” Prior to her duties with the Academic Success Program, Professor Schmitz worked for twelve years in the ADR Clinic at SIU where her particular area of interest was mediation. She has written extensively on mediation and other ADR topics and has served on several committees regarding ADR.

Additionally, Professor Schmitz assisted with bar admission and bar preparation. Professor Schmitz has been in legal education because she enjoyed two professions she loves: teaching and law. She is a 1969 graduate of St. Xavier College in Chicago, with a B.A. in Philosophy. She also earned an M.S. Ed. from Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville in 1976, and a J.D. (Magna cum Laude) from St. Louis University School of Law in 1981. She is admitted to practice in Illinois, Missouri, and the Central and Southern United States District Courts in Illinois.

In retirement, Professor Schmitz will volunteer on bar association projects and community activities.

Gail Thomas

Gail Thomas

Professor Thomas came to the Domestic Violence Clinic in summer 2004 with more than six years experience as a prosecuting attorney. She spent more than five years as an assistant state's attorney in Jackson County, Illinois, including three and a half years prosecuting domestic batteries and domestic violence related crimes. She also served for more than a year as a state appellate prosecutor for the Illinois 5th District, handling first degree murder and aggravated sexual assault cases. She taught in the Administration of Justice and Paralegal Studies programs at Southern Illinois University during the 2003–04 academic year.

Professor Thomas holds BS and JD degrees from Southern Illinois University.

Gail Thomas '96 received on April 23, 2018, the teaching excellence award, non-tenure track.

Wenona Whitfield

Wenona Whitfield

Wenona Whitfield received her BA degree from Illinois Wesleyan (1970) and her JD degree from Southern Illinois University School of Law in 1977. She taught property and health-related courses at SIU Law for 26 years before retiring in 2007. She has been a visiting professor at Florida Coastal School of Law, William Mitchell College of Law, and the University of Missouri School of Law in Columbia, Missouri.

She has taught as a Fulbright professor at the University of Ghana College of Law and at Tsinghua University School of Law in Beijing, China. She is a member of the American Law Institute, the Illinois State Bar Association, and the American Agricultural Law Association.

Nolan Wright

Nolan Wright

Professor Wright joined the SIU School of Law faculty in 2009. He received J.D. and M.L.I.S. degrees from the University of Washington in 1995 and 2008 respectively, and also holds an M.A. in Psychology from the University of Arizona. At SIU, Professor Wright serves as a Reference Librarian in the Law Library, teaches legal research in the Lawyering Skills Program, and supervises law student volunteers in the SIU Self-Help Legal Center. Additionally, he serves as the faculty advisor for Equal Justice Works, a Registered Student Organization. Professor Wright’s research interests are primarily in the areas of legal research education and access to justice. He is an active member of the American Association of Law Libraries, serving since 2012 on a task force commissioned by its Academic Law Libraries Special Interest Section to identify skills and knowledge needed for legal practice.

Before coming to the SIU School of Law, Professor Wright maintained an active legal practice as a sole practitioner in Seattle, Washington, with an emphasis on family law, employment law, and administrative law matters. A strong believer in trying to demystify law as an attorney, he routinely offered to help clients learn about the laws and legal procedures they were confronted by in their cases—doing so on a pro bono basis and discovering his love for teaching in the process. In his pre-law days, Professor Wright worked in community development and project management, having earned a B.A. cum laude in Urban Studies in 1982 from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Professor Wright is also a semi-active artist, working predominately in non-traditional basketry and other fiber forms, and is a novice wood worker.