The College of Law would like to congratulate alumnus V. Frank Mendicino II on the reception of the University of Wyoming Medallion Service Award for 2015. The Medallion Service Award is awarded by the Alumni Association and is a way to honor its recipients and acknowledge their many contributions of time, talent, or support of the University.
Mendicino grew up in Cheyenne. However, he did not immediately choose UW for his college. Instead, he started at the University of Colorado in the fall of 1957 on a partial tennis scholarship. “I was thinking I wanted to leave Wyoming. It only took me a semester to realize it was too big, and it was too different from how I was raised.” He made the switch to Laramie, which he calls the start of a “fantastic experience.” He joined Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity and got involved in student government. In between completing his bachelor’s degree and starting law school, he served in the Army.
Mendicino practiced law in Laramie, and in 1972 he was elected to the state Legislature representing Albany County. He served one term, then was asked to co-chair Ed Herschler’s first gubernatorial campaign. “Defying all the odds, he was elected,” Mendicino says, “so I became his attorney general.”
That period gave Mendicino the opportunity to run what he says was in effect the biggest law firm in the state. He did things lawyers in rural states rarely get to do, such as arguing before the U.S. Supreme Court and getting involved in complex rule making.
As he was deciding what to do next, he heard from an old friend from Cheyenne who’d gotten involved in a venture capital fund in California. Unlike Mendicino, this person and his partner had never managed money on behalf of limited partners. So in 1981, Mendicino joined them in California. Even while working at the firm, he continued to practice law in Wyoming, commuting frequently.
When in the late 1990s the firm opened offices in Texas and in Denver, Mendicino took that chance to return to the Rocky Mountains. Now, he has homes in Denver and Laramie and is very involved with various projects at UW.
Mendicino was recognized for his service to the University during Homecoming, which included a presentation at the College of Law. His remarks were not only inspiring, but were further evidence of his insightful contributions, offering valuable guidance to current law students.