Husband and wife meet at Wayne Law-- Work together to support alumni and students


DETROIT, MI-- Wayne State University Law School alumni Rose and Peter Houk, both graduates of the Class of '69, know how to keep a secret. The couple met as students at Wayne Law, but didn't tell anyone they were dating until they sent out their wedding invitations right before their last year.

"We told no one about our relationship, because we wanted to preserve our privacy and not be the brunt of the usual jokes that one might expect in that environment," Rose said.

But one thing they want everyone to know about is the value of a Wayne Law education. Together, they are working to spread the word about the Law School and the Wayne Law Alumni Association to graduates in the Lansing area, where they live. This summer, they co-hosted an alumni gathering that attracted more than 40 guests who reconnected with their alma mater and learned of exciting Law School news and initiatives.

"Our goal is to help Wayne Law reach out to its alumni in the Greater Lansing area," Rose said. "Hopefully, the rest of the graduates will, like us, remember the opportunities afforded to them by their legal education at Wayne Law and become supporters of and advocates for the Law Alumni Association and the Law School, too."

"Alumni like Rose and Peter are so important in helping us reach out to our graduates all over the state and the country," said Wayne Law Alumni Officer Kathryn Koehler. "The personal connections they make and their commitment are tremendous benefits to us in planning future events and initiatives."

The Houks linked up with their alma mater when asked to help plan their class's 40th reunion last year. Connecting with old friends was definitely the highlight of the reunion for the couple. "It is still hard to believe that all of us have gone about our lives for 40+ years," Rose said. "It seems like yesterday that we graduated, took the bar together and went out to save the world."

Today, Rose and Peter are helping other students do just that. They were recently honored at the 2010 Anthony Wayne Society Charter Night for giving to the Law School's Public Interest Law Fellowships.

The couple moved to Lansing after receiving their degrees from Wayne Law. Rose worked for the Greater Lansing Legal Aid Bureau for two years, then started her own practice, and later worked in the Michigan Attorney General's office. Peter worked as an assistant attorney general for the state of Michigan, city attorney for the city of Lansing, and Ingham county prosecutor. He was appointed to the 30th Circuit Court in 1986 where he served until 2002, including eight years as chief judge. He now practices part-time with Frasier Treblicock Davis and Dunlap PC, concentrating on alternative dispute resolution.

Both believe their Wayne Law education played a key role in their success as attorneys.

"It was a fabulous education," Peter said. "The professors prepared me for a number of judges that I encountered along the way. They were demanding and taught you how to think on your feet and not be intimidated by authority." He credits his participation in Moot Court as especially valuable.

"The experience honed research and writing skills, and when I was a young assistant attorney general those skills paid handsome dividends."

Rose was one of only six women enrolled at Wayne Law at the time. "I got to know everyone in the class because they all knew me," she said. "It made our class's 40th anniversary party not just a reunion -- for me it was a homecoming, too."

In the more than 40 years since graduating, the two have seen many changes in the profession, but both feel that the practice of law has become less collegial and more business-oriented. "When I began my practice, lawyers would gather after a bar association meeting or for lunch at the attorney's table at the Eagle restaurant in Lansing and settle cases," Peter recalled. "Today we have formalized systems of case evaluation, facilitated mediation and judicial settlement conferences."

The couple is enjoying their time off these days, pursuing hobbies and interests. Rose is an avid reader and serves on a number of community service boards in the Lansing area; Peter is pursuing his passion for cycling, having completed two summer trips of more than 300 miles each. And their enthusiasm for Wayne Law is sure to keep them busy as well.

Published: Thu, Dec 23, 2010