W&L Law Presents Alumni Awards during 2023 Reunion Celebration David “Freedi” Friedfeld ‘83L was honored with the Outstanding Alumnus Award. Nan Hannah ‘93L, Tom Mitchell ‘93L, and Kit Thomas ‘18L were recognized for volunteer work.
More than three hundred Washington and Lee law school alumni and guests returned for this year’s reunion celebration, held April 14-16 in Lexington.
During the awards ceremony on Saturday, Dean Melanie Wilson announced the recipients of the Outstanding Alumnus/a Award, Volunteer of the Year Award and Young Volunteer of the Year Award.
The 2023 Outstanding Alumus/a Award was given to David “Freedi” Friedfeld ‘83L. Friedfeld is President of ClearVision Optical, one of the largest family-owned eyewear distributors in North America. Based in Hauppauge, New York, ClearVision designs and distributes eyewear and sun wear for 12 distinctive designer brands.
Friedfeld provides vision and leadership to all areas within the ClearVision organization. Under his guidance, ClearVision has received countless honors and accolades from both the eyewear industry and the business community. Friedfeld has appeared on several internet radio shows, including The Growth Strategist, The CEO Show, and Power Hour. He is also a featured speaker at many industry-related events and functions.
ClearVision Optical has been named one of the Best Companies to Work for in New York State for eight years, most recently in 2023. ClearVision has also been recognized by The Long Island Herald with a Family Business award in 2022, Long Island Business News as Corporate Citizen of the Year in 2019, and New York SmartCEO as a 2016 Family Business Awards honoree. With a continuous commitment to providing excellent customer service, ClearVision was also recognized at the 2016 Stevie Awards for Sales and Customer Service, where the company received two gold and two silver awards.
Friedfeld has been a tremendous advocate for the implementation of 3D printing into the product development cycle at ClearVision. An avid new media follower, Friedfeld strongly embraces new and innovative technology while remaining committed to meeting the needs of customers in today’s ever-changing technological landscape.
In his community, Friedfeld has been instrumental in supporting numerous philanthropic endeavors, including W.I.L.L. founded by Steve Abraham ’80, ’83L, as well as the SUNY School of Optometry, Stony Brook University, United Jewish Appeal, Lehigh University, United Cerebral Palsy of Suffolk County, American Heart Association, and Big Brothers and Big Sisters.
The 2023 Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to two recipients this year, Nan Hannah and Tom Mitchell, both of the Law Class of 1993 celebrating their 30th reunion.
Over the years, Nan Hannah has found numerous ways to serve W&L Law. She is currently a Law Council member, a Law Class Agent, a Reunion Volunteer and a Law Annual Fund Co-Chair. She has also been active as an Eastern N.C. Chapter volunteer.
Most noteworthy, Hannah finds new ways to connect her personal and professional achievement to her three years in Lewis Hall. In her volunteer roles, she shares these connections in a way that encourages her fellow W&L Law grads to reflect on their own paths since law school.
Hannah is partner at Hannah Sheridan & Cochran in Raleigh, North Carolina, whose practice focuses on construction law. She received her undergraduate degree from Furman University and her master’s in education from Baylor. Before attending law school, Hannah spent seven years teaching high school social studies in Texas and North Carolina while coaching basketball and track and field.
Tom Mitchell serves as the Managing Partner and Chair of the Management Committee of Moore & Van Allen in Charlotte, North Carolina. Prior to taking on the role as Managing Partner in 2018, he served as head of the Financial Services group which now consists of over 100 lawyers, and was a member of the Management Committee. Mitchell is a seasoned finance lawyer with extensive experience representing financial institutions in syndicated credit facilities in a wide variety of industries, with a focus on acquisition and leveraged finance.
Over the years, Mitchell served as a W&L Law Firm Liaison for 15 years and is currently an emeritus member of the Law Council. He has been tireless in his efforts to hire numerous law students and alumni, coming to campus to interview our students and encouraging his firm’s recruiting team to partner with the law school on strategic initiatives. Mitchell is always willing to help support and promote the success of the law school and continues to be a great ambassador for the school.
Mitchell is actively involved in his community. He serves on the board and executive committee of the Charlotte Executive Leadership Council and cochairs its Community Engagement Working Team. He also volunteers his time as a high school basketball coach and serves on the board of directors for Charlotte Center City Partners and the Advisory Board of the Carolinas Chapter of the National Association of Corporate Directors. Mitchell received his undergraduate degree from University of Illinois at Urbana.
The 2023 Young Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to Kit Thomas ‘18L. Thomas has wholeheartedly accepted the call to assist W&L Law in numerous ways. In her fourth year on the Young Alumni Council, she has worked with Law Admissions and Career Strategy to better the Law School through recruiting excellent students and helping new grads find their way to a great job.
With Advancement and Alumni Affairs, Thomas serves as a Law Class Agent and as a Reunion Volunteer for the Law Class of 2018. When you reach out to Thomas with a question of any kind, you can expect a timely, thoughtful reply. After law school, Thomas clerked in the U.S. Court of Appeals and U.S. District Court of Western Kentucky, and is now an Assistant Federal Public Defender in the Capital Habeas Unit of the Federal Public Defender, of the Middle District of Tennessee. She received her undergraduate degree from Centre College of Kentucky.
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