Professor Linda A. Malone of William & Mary Law School has been honored with the Spirit of Vassar Award from her undergraduate alma mater, Vassar College.
Chosen by Alumnae and Alumni of Vassar College (AAVC), the annual award is given to an individual or group whose volunteer efforts exemplify an enduring spirit of community and caring.
Malone, a 1975 Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Vassar, traveled to Poughkeepsie in June to accept the honor.
“She is a shining example of what happens when you unleash a smart, motivated, Vassar activist into the world,” said Missie Rennie Taylor, president of the Vassar Alumnae/i Association and a trustee of the College. “The College and the AAVC communities are all proud to recognize her accomplishments.”
Malone is the Marshall-Wythe Foundation Professor of Law and Founding Director of the Human Security Law Center at William & Mary. In addition to writing or co-writing 12 books on international law, human rights, and environmental law, she has served on the American Bar Association’s Special Subcommittee on the Rights of the Child and on two committees of the National Academy of Sciences and is the author of the water quality chapter of the 2005 report of the U.S. Ocean Commission.
Before presenting Malone with the honor, Taylor reminded Vassar alumni of Malone’s extensive pro bono work.
“The United Nations brings representatives together from all over the world to develop various conventions on human rights issues, which are internationally agreed-upon definitions of what constitutes basic human rights,” Taylor said. “Linda served on the American Bar Association’s subcommittee that worked on the passage of two such conventions: the rights of the child and the elimination of discrimination against women. That’s simply remarkable.”
Malone was an original member of the Environmental Law Academy of the World Conservation Union, which helps find pragmatic solutions to environmental and developmental challenges. She was also a member of a team of pro bono attorneys that represented Bosnia-Herzegovina against Serbia before the World Court.
“She was responsible for demonstrating that the systematic rape, which occurred during the war, was an international crime of genocide and a crime against humanity orchestrated at the highest command levels and not merely individual war crimes by the lower-ranking paramilitary soldiers,” Taylor said.
“I was really deeply moved by this award,” Malone told the audience. “There are so many people, just in my class of 1975, not to mention generally at Vassar who have done so much in terms of public service, that I accept this award on their behalf and all others who help the spirit of Vassar in dedicating part of their busy lives...to others.”
After receiving her B.A. in English and French from Vassar, Malone went on to earn a J.D. from Duke, where she was Research and Managing Editor of the Duke Law Journal, and an LL.M. from the University of Illinois. Prior to joining the William & Mary faculty in 1988, she served as a law clerk for the Honorable Wilbur F. Pell, United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, and practiced law in Chicago and Atlanta.
Malone is a member of the American Law Institute and serves on the Board of Directors for the International Society for the Reform of Criminal Law. In 2013 she taught as a Distinguished Scholar in International Environmental Law at Ocean University in Qingdao, China.
She is a frequent speaker locally, nationally, and internationally, and a frequent commentator for newspapers and other media outlets.
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