Class of 2018 Honors Professor Tara Leigh Grove with Walter L. Williams, Jr., Teaching Award

  • Teaching Excellence
    Teaching Excellence  Sara Miller, at right, presented Professor Grove with the Walter L. Williams, Jr., Memorial Teaching Award on behalf of the 3L Class.  Photo by Odd Moxie
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At the Law School's Diploma Ceremony on May 13, the Class of 2018 honored Professor Tara Leigh Grove with the Walter L. Williams, Jr., Memorial Teaching Award, which is given each year by graduating students to a member of the faculty to recognize outstanding teaching.

Sara Miller J.D. ’18 presented the honor on behalf of the class, and told the audience that Grove “consistently exemplifies excellent teaching, devotion to law, and friendship to students.”

This is the latest accolade for Grove, who has received numerous recognitions as a teacher and scholar since joining the Law School faculty in 2011.  The Federalist Society honored her in 2016 with the Paul M. Bator Award, which is given to a legal scholar under the age of 40 “who has demonstrated excellence in legal scholarship, a commitment to teaching, a concern for students, and who has made a significant public impact.” The William & Mary Alumni Association also honored her in 2016 with the Alumni Fellowship Award for excellence in teaching and she is a two-time recipient of the university’s Plumeri Award for Faculty Excellence (2014, 2017).

Grove, said Miller, is consistently described as bringing a “contagious” enthusiasm for the study of law that inspires students to learn. Miller quoted one student who wrote that Grove “is engaging, demanding, and passionate. She knows every detail of every case inside and out. But she structures class in a way that makes you want to come prepared—it makes you want to solve the tough questions she asks.”

Students appreciated that Grove “is always searching for ways to bring the doctrine to life,” Miller said, using current events or court filings, for example, to illustrate how the course material “truly matters.” She joked that Grove’s office “might as well have a revolving door” when it comes to the number of students who seek her help and counsel. Grove, she said, “is always available to talk to students about class, law school, job searches, potential journal note topics, or just life in general.”  Miller had Grove for class during her spring 3L semester and recalled fondly her parting words, which invited students to stay in touch with her and let her know how she could help them in the future.  She quoted Grove as saying “We are not just your professors during your semesters here in law school. We are your teachers for life.”

Walter L. Williams, Jr., was a member of the Law School faculty from 1972 to 1991. A scholar of international law, he taught with "enthusiasm, warmth and good humor," as noted in the resolution establishing the teaching award that bears his name.

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