By Sue Botos
Rocky River native and Ohio Supreme Court Justice Terrence O’Donnell has been named one of Cleveland State University’s Cleveland-Marshall College of Law Alumni of the Year.
O’Donnell was honored during the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law Alumni Association’s annual recognition luncheon. In addition, Terry H. Gilbert of Friedman & Gilbert also received an alumni award at the event.
“I am very humbled and honored by this recognition,” O’Donnell said. “This is a special moment in my career, and I am very proud to join the ranks of those prior distinguished recipients who have been recognized.”
Plenty of friends and family were on hand for the May 22 ceremony, including son Michael O’Donnell, Rocky River Ward 3 councilman. “Our whole family went down to the ceremony,” O’Donnell stated, adding, “He is worthy and deserving. He’s always been a mentor to me and this honor is well-deserved.”
After graduating from the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in 1971, Terrence O’Donnell served as law clerk to Ohio Supreme Court Justice J.J.P. Corrigan. He then clerked for Judges John V. Corrigan and John M. Manos on the 8th District Court of Appeals. O’Donnell practiced law with the firm of Marshman, Snyder & Corrigan in Cleveland for six years and directed the paralegal education program at Dyke College. He also taught CPA law review classes at CSU.
A member of the state judiciary for over 30 years, O’Donnell has been a member of both the trial and appellate courts. He began his judicial career in 1980 on the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, serving for 14 years until his election to the 8th District Court of Appeals in 1994. He served there for eight years, subsequently becoming a visiting trial court judge in various counties throughout the state before joining the Supreme Court in 2003. He was elected in 2006 and re-elected in 2012 with almost 70 percent of the statewide vote, and his current term expires in 2018.
The Cleveland-Marshall award is the most recent of O’Donnell’s alumni honors. St. Edward High School presented him with its Alumnus of the Year award in 2005, and Kent State University recognized him as an outstanding graduate of the College of Arts & Sciences.
A former teacher, O’Donnell is a founder of Legal Eagles, St. Edward’s alumni law fraternity, and a past member of the board of trustees for Magnificat High School and the board of trustees of the Lawyers Guild of Cleveland. O’Donnell is a member of the Ohio State Bar Foundation Fellows Class of 2005.
O’Donnell lives in Rocky River with his wife, Mary Beth. They have four adult children, Terrence, Michael, Colleen and Nora, and six grandchildren.