Professor Laura A. Heymann received the 2008 Walter L. Williams Jr. Memorial Teaching Award during the Law School's graduation ceremony on May 11. The award recognizes outstanding teaching and its recipient is chosen each year by the graduating class.
In his remarks, Joshua Whitley '08, chairman of the Graduation Committee, told the audience that Heymann's "love of teaching is self-evident." She has had, he noted, "a profound impact on many, if not most, of the members of the Class of 2008."
Over the course of their three years in law school, he said, Heymann wrote numerous notes to class members congratulating them on their achievements. He quoted Wesley Allen '08 who recalled that it seemed that Heymann "had memorized the class's facebook" as she knew each of the students by name on the first day of his torts class. Allen, according to Whitley, spoke for many when he said that Heymann was instrumental in helping him graduate. Whitley also quoted Michael Kourabas '08 as saying that the exam for her trademark course was the hardest he had ever taken but that "somehow, someway, she remains my favorite professor."
"Professor Heymann began her career as a law professor three years ago when we began our law studies," said Whitley. "Appropriately, she is honored today along with our class."
The award is named for Professor Walter L. Williams, Jr., a member of the faculty from 1972 to 1991. Following his death after a long illness, a faculty resolution lauded his numerous contributions as a scholar of international law, professor and colleague. Williams taught with "enthusiasm, warmth and good humor," the resolution noted, and was loved and admired by students.
The Summer Abroad Program also honors Williams by inviting a select number of Spanish law students and recent graduates of Spanish law schools to participate in the Madrid program each year at no charge as Walter Williams Fellows.